Brother Terry Todd

In memoriam: Former Arkansas State Legislative Board Chairman Terry Todd, 1957-2023


Brother Terry L. Todd, long-serving Chairman of the BLET’s Arkansas State Legislative Board, passed away on December 10, 2023. He was 65 years old.


Brother Todd hired out as a brakeman with the Missouri Pacific Railroad at Monroe, La., in June of 1977. He went firing on June 29, 1978, and earned promotion to locomotive engineer on September 8, 1979. He has held continuous membership in BLET for more than 40 years, having joined the Brotherhood on September 1, 1978. He first joined Division 915 (Alexandria, La.), transferring to Division 585 (North Little Rock, Ark.) several years later.


In 1996, Brother Todd began serving Division 585 as President and Legislative Representative, offices that he held until his retirement. He spent 20 years as an officer of the BLET’s Arkansas State Legislative Board, serving as its Secretary-Treasurer from 1998-2002 before being elected Chairman in 2002. He was reelected to six terms of office as Chairman between 2002 and his retirement in 2018.


Brother Todd was Chairman of the BLET’s former Southwestern Convention Meeting (SWCM) from 2006-2015, and represented his Division as Delegate to several BLET National Division conventions over the years. He is a former 1st Vice Chairman of the BLET’s National Association of State Legislative Board Chairmen (NASLBC) and former Chairman of NASLBC Region 2. Brother Todd has been a member of the Arkansas State AFL-CIO Executive Committee since 2001. He also served as a National Division Representative on the Rail Safety Advisory Committee’s (RSAC) working group for Hours of Service.


Two major railroad safety bills were signed into state law during his tenure as Chairman of the Arkansas State Legislative Board. In 2009, then-Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe signed House Bill 1318 into law. The “Safe Transportation of Railroad Employees by Contract Carriers Act” increased safety for railroad workers by mandating improved safety standards for van drivers employed by railroad contract carriers as well as their motor vehicles they use to transport train crews to and from off-duty locations. The law mandates hours of service for van drivers, drug testing for drivers, inspections of the vehicles, and maintenance of the vehicles. It also mandates liability insurance of $5 million for each motor vehicle that transports railroad employees. In 2017, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, signed Act 955 into law, which protects train crews by imposing harsher penalties on criminals who target railroad workers. The act is designed discourage terrorist acts against freight railroads and public transportation employees, and protects locomotive engineers, conductors, switchmen, brakemen, trainmen, and firemen.


His Last Run came on December 21, 2017. He worked as locomotive engineer of a manifest train (operating an SD70 locomotive) between Longview, Texas, and North Little Rock, Ark. His retirement became effective January 2, 2018. Members of Division 585 in North Little Rock honored him with a surprise retirement dinner and party following his Last Run.


Brother Todd was part of a railroad family. His father Marlin Todd was an electrician and manager for the Missouri Pacific for many years. His Brother, Arlin Todd, is a BLET member and locomotive engineer with CN. Arlin served as Chairman of the BLET’s Louisiana State Legislative Board prior to his retirement.


After retirement, Brother Todd was known to continue attending union meetings. He enjoyed hunting and spending time with his family.


Brother Todd and his wife, Jane Gray-Todd, were married on June 24, 1989. He had three children: Lindsey (deceased), Haley and Ryan, and five grandchildren.


A celebration of life will be held at the Teamsters Hall in Little Rock, Arkansas, on Wednesday, December 20, 2023, from 1:00-4:00 p.m.


11/4 Agreement Ratified by 90%

90% majority of BLET members ratify quality of life agreement with UP

JUNE 29, 2023 | Paid Sick LeaveTop NewsUP

The six BLET General Chairmen reported today that 90% of BLET Divisions representing locomotive engineers on Union Pacific ratified a momentous agreement that enhances the quality of life for those locomotive engineers and their families by making it possible for them to have more predictable schedules.

The agreement provides locomotive engineers in unassigned service scheduled rest days and predictable work schedules (being available for 11 days, followed by 4 days off) along with other work/rest models. The parties expect to implement the new work/rest schedules within the next year across the system.

The General Chairmen and their General Committee Officers would like to thank their members for ratifying this industry-changing agreement that will greatly augment their quality of life. They further state, “We will continue to negotiate meaningful improvements to the working conditions for the members we represent.”

Additionally, the General Chairmen would like to thank BLET First Vice President Mark Wallace and National Vice President Gary Best for their assistance in this endeavor.

Paid Sick Leave Agreement

Brothers and Sisters, please see attached paid sick leave agreement.



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PDF icon Paid Sick Leave Agreement160.98 KB

Tentative Agreement 11/4

Brothers and Sisters, after months of negotiations we have a tentative agreement in place, that must now go through the ratification process.  




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PDF icon Tentative Agreement1.08 MB

Engineers Abandoning Locomotive Controls

Brothers and Sisters,

It has been brought to our attention that some engineers are leaving their position to go work on the second unit or leaving your controls unattended while using the restroom, even if on the lead unit.  An engineer in KCMO injured his finger while returning from the second unit and he received a personal injury returning from the second unit.  

The UP has dismissed the engineer and the conductor.; the engineer for abandoning his position and the conductor for getting behind the controls of the locomotive. 

We should all be aware that the cameras are running and watching your every move.  The FRA has now gotten involved and we were told the crew could be getting personal fines.

If one of our engineers has to leave that seat for whatever reason; even going to the restroom. They need to be aware that they are violating FRA regulations if they do not stop the train. 

Please inform all your Members to stop the locomotive if they have to leave the controls; for any reason.  If you are asked why you had to stop; just be honest and say you had to use the restroom, work on the locomotive, etc.  

Never go to the trailing units while the train is moving, as that is dangerous, and the possibility of getting injured and/or fired if something happens while performing these types of tasks are extremely high. 

This is simple: just stop the train, if you need to leave the controls of your locomotive unattended. 

I have talked to the SMART-TD General Chairman Joey Cornelius and he is also instructing his Members to stop the train if they need to abandon their position. 

Ronnie Rhodes

BLET National President Retires

Election Statement by Dennis R. Pierce

December 16, 2022

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, the founding member of the Teamsters Rail Conference, conducted the ballot count for the 2022 Election of BLET National Division Officers on Monday, December 12, 2022.

BLET’s change from delegate elections in convention to rank and file elections of National Division Officers was instituted in 2006 by a member-led referendum, making BLET one of the only rail unions that allows its membership to directly elect its national division officers. It was the rank and file members that wrote the resulting internal law that now governs our election process, which has been in place since our 2010 election of officers. Much like the International Brotherhood of Teamsters’ internal law, BLET’s internal law requires that election rules be adopted to govern the process. Those rules also follow the requirement of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA), the federal law governing union elections.

Just as we live in a land of laws, membership in any union, including the BLET, is governed by member approved internal laws. Regardless of what outside forces may say about our election process, no union can survive without ensuring that its laws are followed. That responsibility falls equally on all members and officers of our Union. I became National President at a time when our rules had not been followed, and with the help of a strong Advisory Board, we went to work in 2010 to put BLET back on the path that rooted corruption out of our union at any and all levels.

I share that for this reason. BLET’s Election Rules, a mandatory extension of our union’s bylaws, must be complied with to ensure a fair, honest, open and informed election. As part of the process, an Election Protest Committee comprised of members in good standing was also mandated with the Election Rules giving all members and candidates the right to file protests to the Committee. Prior to Monday’s ballot count, 11 protests had been filed, including protests filed by all involved campaigns, with eight of those protests decided by the Committee. The Committee’s decision in Protest Number 8 was appealed to the Union’s Advisory Board, and a ruling on that appeal was decided ahead of the ballot count, with the Advisory Board remanding the protest back to the Committee for additional handling. As discussed below, the Committee’s decision on remand was issued late yesterday. Our union’s Advisory Board and the Election Protest Committee are both comprised of solid and honest men who placed their responsibility to enforce the union’s internal laws ahead of all other issues, as they rightfully should.

Turning to the ballot count, ballots were sent to 30,614 ballot eligible members. On Monday, December 12, 2022, 8153 votes cast by voter eligible members were counted, with Candidate Hall receiving 4331 votes and my candidacy receiving 3822 votes. Just as the Election Rules mandated that the ballot count be on December 12, those Election Rules require that the announcement of the certified results be made this coming Monday, December 19, 2022.

Late yesterday, and as mandated by the Election Rules, the Election Protest Committee issued its Supplement Decision in Protest Number 8. In that Decision, they found that the Election Rules violations related to that protest required that the union’s election be rerun and that decision has been posted to the BLET’s website.

I am sending this public announcement to all BLET members to advise them that after serious consideration, I have notified National Secretary-Treasurer Bruno and Candidate Hall that I will not be a candidate in the rerun election for reasons that I will share. After hiring out at the railroad over 45 years ago, with 32 of those years spent serving our great Brotherhood as an officer at every level of our Union, I will be retiring at the end of my current term on December 31, 2022. As such, I am also asking National Secretary-Treasurer Bruno to declare that there being only one candidate in the rerun election, Edward Hall is elected by acclamation to the office of National President effective January 1, 2022. I have also notified National Secretary-Treasurer Bruno that all remaining protests on record from any member of my campaign are withdrawn and I will be closing down all campaign related social media pages. I have also advised National President-Elect Hall that I will assist him in his transition to our union’s highest office to the fullest extent that he desires.

My decision was not an easy one. Whether or not any member agrees or disagrees with the difficult decisions that I have had to make as National President, I have always put the membership and our Union as an institution first and foremost. For that very reason, I will not subject this Brotherhood to the further division that would be caused by a rerun election.

But I leave office with a request of all BLET members. I ask that those who manage social media pages that incite division against other members and officers shut those pages down too. If President-Elect Hall and the Advisory Board that he will preside over are to have any chance at success, the hateful rhetoric, division and infighting fostered by social media and egged on by outside non-member forces must end. The membership must stand united in the fight against the rail carriers, and stop blaming their union and its officers for the actions of those carriers.

I am certain that President-Elect Hall will agree with me how critical this is. Honeymoon periods for incoming union presidents are made shorter and shorter by these divisive forces. I intend to give the new administration a fighting chance, and ask each and every member to do the same by standing united. Place the blame for the oppressive workplace where it belongs, on the rail carriers not your union.

I have truly been honored to serve our proud Brotherhood at all levels of the BLET, but most importantly as your National President. I have also been honored along the way to serve alongside some of the brightest and best men and women in all of Labor, both within the BLET and in the IBT, the AFL-CIO and among the officers, staff and counsel of all of the other Rail Unions that I have been honored to serve with. I must also give special thanks the BLET National Division Staff, there is no harder working group of dedicated men and women in all of Rail Labor, and each and every one of them have earned to right to work for the incoming administration. I also give thanks to the members who have supported me over the years in the various offices I have been elected to.

Finally, we all know that the life of a railroader and of a union representative takes a huge toll on our families, and my experience has been no different. After seeing me forced from home for many years and working road jobs that took me away from them for the 15 years that I ran an engine, my family came along with me on two cross country moves so I could work for the membership. And like all of you, my family has been neglected along the way while I worked both for the railroad and on behalf of the union. I now intend to do all that I can to make that up to them in retirement.  I do not retire with any remorse or regret as I am confident that I leave the BLET National Division better than I found it. I ask you all to make the same commitment I have, support the BLET, especially the incoming administration. You have every right to be enraged at the rail carriers, turn that into being engaged in your union.

In solidarity,
Dennis R. Pierce


Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen

7061 East Pleasant Valley Road, Independence, OH 44131

T/A Vote

Brothers and Sisters, the ballots are arriving in mail boxes all across the country.  I encourage you to exercise your right to vote.  The Union Pacific Central Region continuously has the largest turnout in the Nation.  

Please join me in voting yes on the T/A for the following reasons:

  • Congress will not let us strike with our economy already in shambles.
  • The side letters, especially side letter 5 will no longer be on the table.
  • We will get the straight PEB from both parties when push comes to shove.
  • This is in fact the largest raise negotiated in the last 45 years.
  • If voted down we will lose the 3 preventative care occurrences that were added in side letter 3.
  • We will lose the cap on Health and Welfare premiums that was obtained in side letter 4.

I know a lot of you are pissed and want to go on strike, the BMWE will probably go on strike on November 20th and of course we will join them on the picket line in support of their issues. 

Just make your voice heard one way or the other as I respect your right to vote no if that is the route you choose. 


Ronnie Rhodes




Tentative Agreement

The attached letter was sent by the National President about the tentative agreement.

File attachments: 
PDF icon 20220922 Pierce Letter Contract.pdf17.72 MB

Strike Vote Information

See attached link.


Strike Vote

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, June 22 — In a conference call held with all BLET General Chairmen today, National President Dennis R. Pierce announced that preparations are underway to poll members to authorize a strike in the event one becomes necessary to attain the Organization’s national bargaining goals.

The National Mediation Board released the BLET and all other Rail Labor unions from mediation with rail carriers on June 17, triggering a 30-day cooling off period, which expires at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on July 18, 2022. At that point, self-help is available to the parties, unless President Biden appoints a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) pursuant to Section 10 of the Railway Labor Act. A PEB would halt any strike or lockout by the parties, and would investigate and issue a report and recommendations concerning the dispute.

National President Pierce cautioned that conducting a strike vote does not necessarily mean a strike will occur. “While we anticipate that President Biden will appoint a Presidential Emergency Board near the deadline, we must be prepared for all eventualities,” he said. President Pierce further explained: “BLET members have been without a contract raise for nearly three years. The strike vote is an opportunity for all BLET members to deliver a unified message to the carriers that we deserve significant pay increases that recognize the essential contributions we make to their ongoing record profits. Please make your voice heard to help us secure the best contract possible.”

More details regarding the pending strike vote will be announced soon.





I have been flooded with questions about the new LOU on Old Heading, I am going to try and answer as many as I can. If you still have questions feel free to ask. 

- Can a guy working west old head a job on the Joilet long pool (even though its in a different Zone) ? The simple answer is yes. No longer are they going to enforce these rules that were not agreed upon. If you are qualified to work the job and are working as an Engineer you can old-headed anything you have seniority to work. 

- This LOU clears up the fact you can not old head a job that it on duty or away from home right? Yes, it does, the only catch to this, and it goes back to the language in the 96 policy manual (the last one the organization agreed to) is that you must still protect your current assignment until that job you old-headed comes in or ties up. So yes if you wish to old head a yard job and its on duty you will be pended to it, yet if your assignment gets called to work you must still protect your current assignment. 

- When will these changes be made? They are made, the general chairman received notice that as of today the programing changes have been made. 

- Is this similar to the conductors where the turn must make a start or round trip first? NO, if it's a known vacancy regardless of the status of five days or more then the turn is available to be old-headed immediately. 

- There have been concerns that with this LOU on old heading the carrier is going to abuse the cross-zone rights, is that the case? No, The General Chairman has documented communication with the carrier this LOU will not change the way the zone rights are handled. This is by choice to cross zones for oldheading...

This change in the old heading is the first, we are working on another change to the process that will allow you to bid on known vacancies. There is still a lot to hammer out on this process and is several months away. I will keep everyone updated to the changes as they come. 

File attachments: 

Flipping and Overtime

Flipping and Overtime, has been another struggle for us and we have a solution. Labor is getting with timekeeping and in the next few days. They will be applying the agreement correctly.


What this means for you is, that when you are called to Deadhead to the AFHT and take a train back to the home terminal, your "day" for overtime calculation starts when you get on the train at the AFHT.


Likewise, when you take a train to the AFHT or don’t make the AFHT you stay on overtime till you get in the van.


Remember for everyone that flips or is used for HOS at the AFHT, REGARDLESS of where you are working you are entitled to waiting on limo time! 


It is very important to show your FRA CORRECTLY! Timekeeping is using your FRA records to determine when your overtime starts and stops. The changes within timekeeping are going to take some time until this is programmed if you are in this situation use a non-service claim if your overtime is offset.


Free Day for Extra Boards - For those of you on the extra boards, you know the pain of getting a free day denied. The problem with the free day, CMS created this status of FD to allow extra board employees to have the day of a half. However, the fight we have been in for quite some time is the agreement language states you are allowed one (24-hour period) per half if you are not first out at the time of the layoff and the layoff is between 12:01 Monday and concluded by 1159 Thursday. If the layoff is within this criteria the engineer only loses his Bonus day.  


In the past CMS has taken the position they can refuse the FD request, we have been very successful in getting claims paid if an engineer only has one layoff regardless of status (LS, LK, LP, etc) getting the day of guarantee reinstated and paid out to the engineer. 


The good news is this week we made some headway with Labor and CMS they are going to get the programming together to allow the FD on EAMS and it CAN NOT be denied! 


There are some programming issues for the carrier to overcome and should be available in the soon future.

Fatigue Survey

Brothes and Sisters, this is not a UP survey, it is being done by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.   Please take the time to fill our the survey as this may help get some relief from our draconian attendance policy.  

Ronnie Rhodes


Fatigue Survey

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 9 — The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), working in collaboration with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, is asking locomotive engineers and conductors to participate in a confidential survey regarding fatigue.

The goal of the research study is to better understand the factors that contribute to fatigue in locomotive engineers and conductors. To participate, you must be a current locomotive engineer or conductor on either a freight or passenger service.

Officials with Virginia Tech stress that the survey is anonymous and will not collect any personally identifying information. According to the survey’s creators: “Your contribution to this research is valuable. Assessing the important factors that contribute to fatigue and the impact these factors have on locomotive engineer and/or conductor safety is necessary to find solutions that benefit rail workers, management and the industry. This information is a critical first step in developing fatigue-mitigation strategies for locomotive engineers and conductors.”

“We believe it is helpful for outside organizations, including academic institutions like Virginia Tech, to get information directly from our members. This survey provides a way for that to happen. BLET will always try to ensure our members have the opportunity to provide vital fatigue data for researchers,” BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce said.

The survey should take 10-15 minutes to complete, but respondents can take as much time as they wish. It is available at:


Notice of Election

 Please see notice of election link to see how and who can vote, etc.


Ronnie Rhodes

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PDF icon Notice of Election 2021 ENG.pdf304.71 KB

Candidates Forum

Please open link to see information about a candidates forum to be held September 1, 2021.


Ronnie Rhodes

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Targeting Claims Settlement

Brothers, please see attached settlement on Targeting Claims and the HAHT associated therewith.


Ronnie Rhodes

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