Archive for the ‘Member Spotlight’ Category

Big Blue Bus driver touted as hero, honored with award

Big Blue Bus (BBB) operator and SMART TD member Rochelle Beamon (Local 1785) has been honored by Santa Monica, California’s city manager with the city’s “Elaine” award. Beamon has been labeled a hero after she managed to miss hitting a man on an electric scooter who swerved into her lane.

“I saw him, looked left and felt very grateful that it turned out the way it did. It feels great to know that I saved someone’s life,” Beamon said when she received the award.

Each week, City Manager Rick Cole honors someone with an “Elaine” award to a city employee who exemplifies the city’s commitment to excellent service.

SMART TD congratulates Beamon on her excellent driving skills and on a job well done.

Click here to read more from the Santa Monica Daily Press.


SMART TD represents bus operators who work for BBB in Santa Monica, Calif. BBB service area spans more than 58 square miles of greater Los Angeles and its buses provide over 16.5 million rides for customers each year.

SMART Member Wins Elk Hunt of a Lifetime

By Courtney Miller (Union Sportsmen’s Alliance)

Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) member Lindsay Lanning was flipping through her SMART Journal when the words “Stalking Your Dream Hunt?” caught her attention. It was a page about the USA and Carhartt Ultimate Elk Hunt Sweepstakes—a trip to honor the American worker by awarding one union member and a guest with a guided, five-day elk hunt in New Mexico’s Gila National Forest, valued at approximately $22,000.

“You can’t win if you don’t play,” she thought as she entered.

As a member of SMART TD Local 1629, Lindsay’s job primarily consists of switching cars in the rail yard using a remote control box to control the locomotives, but she also loads and unloads an auto facility.

“Railroad unions are the oldest unions, and my union is very important to me,” Lindsay said. “The union is constantly negotiating and fighting for things like our pay, healthcare and laws to keep two-person crews. The union also protects us from unlawful termination due to injury, they guarantee due process and investigations before any discipline, and they fight for lost wages.”

Lindsay learned that her union benefits go well beyond the workplace when she was selected as the grand prize winner of the USA/Carhartt sweepstakes from nearly 5,000 entrants. The hunt was an amazing opportunity that got even better when Lindsay made an unexpected discovery about the outfitter.

“When I won the hunt, I contacted a long-time family friend, Danny Parker, who lives in Chino Valley, Arizona, to ask if he knew the guides with Big Chino Guide Service,” Lindsay said. “To my surprise, he said he knew them well; he grew up with the owner, JP, and watched JP’s boys, who are now the main guides, grow up.”

Lindsay chose to bring her father Dana Lanning of Phoenix, Arizona, on the hunt with her. Dana was a member of Operating Engineers Local 428 for more than 30 years and is currently a member of Electrical Workers Local 769.

When Lindsay learned Parker would be helping on the hunt, she asked if her brother, Dalton, could tag along too. Dalton is in the Air Force and, until recently, was stationed out of the country, causing him to miss many family hunts. With the help of Parker, that was made possible for the Lanning family.

During the five-day hunt, Lindsay’s father and brother took turns joining her in the field. Whoever wasn’t with her, the guide and the camera crew, glassed with Parker and the other guide on a different ridge.

“Ultimately, bringing home meat and enjoying quality family time outdoors are the most important things about hunting to our family, and we never expect to bring home a trophy,” Lindsay said. “This New Mexico hunt differed greatly in that we saw elk every day but could pass them up in hopes of finding a bigger bull.”

By luck of the draw, it was Lindsay’s brother’s turn to go with her and their guide to a blind overlooking a water hole where a nice bull had been spotted. It was the last evening of the hunt, and they were waiting as patiently as they could.

“We had one cameraman on the left end, a guide in the middle, and myself on the right end with the muzzleloader on a tripod in front of me,” Lindsay said. “We were all sitting on the ground in this small blind. My brother sat right behind us, leaning against a tree.”

The wind was in their favor as they quietly watched the water hole. And then it happened. Dalton caught sight of giant antlers coming from behind the left side of the blind.

“My heart immediately began pounding out of my ears, and I was certain the elk could hear it,” Lindsay said. “We all sat perfectly still, frozen in awe of this magnificent creature, cautiously making his way to the water hole in front of us.”

The elk made it far enough for a 45-degree angle shot to Lindsay’s left, but she couldn’t move the gun in his direction or he would see it.

“Whether the elk winded us, saw us or just got nervous, he turned and bolted straight back to where he came from, completely opposite of where I was positioned,” Lindsay said.

The guide jumped up and whistled in an attempt to stop the bull, while simultaneously grabbing the gun and repositioning it straight left through the blind.

“Miraculously, the bull stopped, and I was able to get down in the scope and take a shot—right between the guide and the camera guy!” Lindsay said.

The bull took off, but only a few seconds later, Lindsay’s brother said he heard him crash.

“Had Dalton not spotted the bull out of the corner of his eye and alerted us early, we could have easily blown our cover,” Lindsay said.

Lindsay had never seen her brother so excited before. Her dad and the rest of the crew arrived within 10 minutes to join in the celebrating.

Aside from going home with elk meat for the freezer, Lindsay and her family were treated to free gear from several companies including Carhartt, Burris Optics, Flambeau Outdoors, Buck Knives and Thompson/Center Arms.

While this may have been Lindsay’s first time hunting with a muzzleloader, it was not her first time big game hunting. She began putting in for junior elk hunts when she was around 12-years-old, and got her first cow tag at age 15. Lindsay has one cow elk to her name from a hunt seven years ago, and now she can proudly add a bull to the list.

“I owe my hunting background to my dad,” Lindsay said. “As far back as I can remember, my dad would go hunting with his brothers or friends, and I was always so excited to see what was in the back of the truck when he came home!”

In their earliest hunting experiences, Lindsay and her brother played the role of bird dogs. Their dad would hunt dove and quail while they ran around picking up the birds and shotgun shells.

Being the grand prize winner of the USA and Carhartt Ultimate Elk Hunt Sweepstakes provided the perfect opportunity for Lindsay to experience an amazing elk hunt with two of the most important people in her life.

“This hunt was a once in a lifetime opportunity and something we never would have treated ourselves to, at least not without winning the lottery,” Lindsay said. “We owe the biggest thanks to Union Sportsmen’s Alliance and Carhartt for organizing this hunt and to Big Chino Outfitters. Without their extensive knowledge and sense of dedication to my father, brother and I, we wouldn’t have brought down the awesome bull elk.”

Tiffany Newman, SM Pioneer Profiled In Industry Magazine

Tiffany Newman, a 37 year old mother of three and member of Local 276 is profiled in Roofing BC Magazine.  Not only has she fulfilled the role as a pioneer in the roofing industry but she has given back to her local community as well by serving as a member of the Shawligan Lake volunteer fire department.   Not only did she start her apprenticeship at the local, but she now serves as a foreman at Alpha Roofing and Cladding.

Click here to read the entire article online on page 26 of Roofing BC Magazine 

True grit: trailblazer Edwina Justus, UP’s first black woman train engineer

In a June 1, 2017 article written by Rosemary Eng for North Star News Today, Edwina Justus offers a personal account of what it was like for a black woman to begin work on the American railroad during the 1970’s, when the railroad industry, like most industries in America, was predominantly white and predominantly male.

Despite facing adversity at every bend, Justus persisted, stayed the course and excelled in her field.

Her journey and achievements are showcased at the Union Pacific Railroad Museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa, at a new exhibit entitled: Move Over, Sir!: Women Working on the Railroad. 

Read the entire article here.

Photos of Edwina Justus, courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor, Women’s Bureau. 

FEMA appoints SMART TD’s Hayes as rail labor rep

Yvonne Hayes, chairperson of Local 1138 in Miami, Florida, and an assistant general chairperson (GO‐851), was recently selected to serve as a member of the FEMA National Advisory Council (NAC) Railroad Emergency Services Preparedness, Operational Needs and Safety Evaluation (RESPONSE) subcommittee. She is the sole committee member representing rail labor.

Hayes brings nearly 40 years of experience in the labor movement and 25 years in freight rail, to her new role. Her career in transportation and focus on safety was ingrained at a young age, as Hayes’ father was an airline pilot who also served as the safety chairperson for his union. She grew up listening to real-life accident scenarios in the transportation industry—and her father’s focus on safety and “doing the job right” above all else, has stayed with her throughout her career.

In 2008, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Labor Studies and Occupational Safety & Health from the National Labor College, and later taught industrial safety and instructional systems design courses at the CollegeHayes is an authorized OSHA Trainer for 10- and 30-hour courses on industry safety standards.

She also serves as a Staff Peer Trainer for the Rail Workers’ Hazmat Training Program (RWHMTP).  The RWHMTP, a consortium of nine rail unions, is designed to educate rail workers beyond the generalized safety training provided by carriers, and empowers rail workers with increased knowledge on the risks associated with rail transport of hazardous materials.

Hayes has worked with her fellow RWHMTP trainers in developing innovative curricula that arms railroaders with the confidence they need to master safety rules and regulations and to understand the science behind them. Her “Railworkers HazMat Toolbox”, developed under a Hazardous Materials Instructor Training (HMIT) grant by the Department of Transportation (DOT), was designed to provide hazmat awareness-level training in short sessions, specifically tailored to the daily safety briefing slots on the railroad. Additionally, Hayes collaborates frequently with members of SMART‐TD around the country—at locals, workshops and regional meetings, conducting Labor, Safety & Health seminars and hazmat courses.

Hayes has been a mentor to new hire conductors at her terminal and was also one of the labor members of CSX’s Labor‐Management Rule Simplification Team, whose mission was to rewrite the CSX Operating Rules manual with the end goal of eliminating “gray areas” that allowed CSX managers to interpret rules differently from one day to the next.  In 2014, Hayes had the honor of being selected as one of two labor members to represent this team at the Railroad Safety Leadership Forum of the American Association of Railroads.

In addition to her recent appointment to the FEMA RESPONSE subcommittee, Hayes continues to serve as one of the SMART TD representatives on the Hazardous Materials Working Group of the FRA Rail Safety Advisory Committee.

Hayes’ recent appointment will bring railroad safety issues from a labor perspective to the national forefront, and will allow Hayes to apply her freight rail safety experience and expertise to affect positive change and make the railroad safer for everyone.

“Yvonne has been a longtime leader on hazardous materials transport concerns, and we are very proud that she will now be a strong voice on the federal level regarding these critical issues that have a significant safety impact on our rail membership, said John Previsich, President of the SMART Transportation Division.

Hayes zeroed in on how her appointment will help support rail labor:

“The most important thing is that this is an opportunity for rail labor to assist our brothers and sisters in the field of emergency services to stay safe when they respond to a derailment or other railroad emergency. I am honored to represent SMART Transportation Division and all rail labor in this new role,” she said.

Photo: Yvonne Hayes at Women’s March in Washington, D.C. – January 2017

Arizona Member Wins Ultimate Elk Hunt

Lindsay Lanning of Glendale, Arizona, was selected as the grand prize winner of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) and Carhartt Ultimate Elk Hunt Sweepstakes, winning a guided five-day elk hunt in the Gila National Forest in New Mexico, valued at approximately $22,000.

Lanning is a member of SMART TD Local 1629 and was selected from nearly 5,000 entrants. She is also a member of the USA, which partnered with Carhartt to honor the American worker by awarding a hunt of a lifetime to one union member and a guest.

Lanning chose to bring along her father Dana Lanning, of Phoenix, who has worked as a union crane operator for more than 30 years. Dana was a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 428 and is currently a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 769. He introduced Lindsay to hunting, taking her on dove and quail hunts when she was a kid and guiding her on her first elk hunt when she was 15. The two remain close hunting partners to this day.

“This is an amazing opportunity,” said Lindsay, “It’s something that my father and I would never treat ourselves to, but it’s absolutely an experience that we’ve dreamed about.”

Big Chino Guide Services, one of the Southwest’s premier hunting outfitters, will guide Lindsay and Dana this fall, with the hope of getting them within range of some of New Mexico’s biggest bull elk.

“We couldn’t be more excited for Lindsay and her father,” said Mike d’Oliveira, USA’s deputy director. “Their story resonates with so many other families who have forged generational bonds through their union membership and also their time enjoying the great outdoors.”

The USA is a nonprofit conservation organization created by and for union members and their families. It harnesses the power of expertly-trained union volunteers to create and improve public access to the outdoors, improve wildlife habitats, mentor youth in the outdoors and restore America’s parks.

Since 2012, Carhartt has collaborated with the USA, helping it to raise funds for conservation projects and unite the community around a shared passion for the outdoors. Each year, the USA and Carhartt produce a national sweepstakes. This year, the promotion centered around the theme of “Hunt Your Legacy” to align with the introduction of Carhartt’s all-new Rugged Outdoors line of high-performance hunting gear.

“As a family-owned company tracing our roots back to 1889, we have a deep appreciation for the traditions and heritage of our customers,” said Brian Spiro, Carhartt’s strategic partnerships manager. “Our partnership with the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance provides us with the opportunity to reach a vast number of dedicated union members who share a rich outdoor legacy.”

The sweepstakes ran from October through December of 2016 and drew the support of several international unions who collectively delivered the promotional ad to more than 2.5 million homes. All active and retired AFL-CIO union members were eligible to enter.

“This contest garnered attention from union members all over the nation,” said d’Oliveira. “It proved the strength of the bonds of so many working men and women to the outdoors and to Carhartt, a brand that shares their rich history, acknowledges the value of a hard earned dollar and encourages their rugged pursuits.”

Georgia SLD Campbell runs for state Senate

Campbell

SMART TD Georgia State Legislative Director Matt Campbell is currently running for Georgia’s State Senate, District 32. Campbell is up against seven other candidates. A special election will be held April 18.

Campbell has been endorsed by SMART TD, AFL-CIO, IBEW, CWA, Teamsters, IAM, Carpenters, IAFF, North Georgia Labor Council and the North Georgia Building Trades union.

Campbell has been a SMART TD (formerly UTU) member for 17 years, since he began his railroad career on CSX in 2000.

Click here to learn more about Campbell’s campaign.

GC Beebe reaches 60-year membership milestone

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Beebe

To be described as a “classic” means that one is considered to be of the highest quality with lasting value; an authoritative standard; fashionable, with simplicity and restraint in style; one of a kind. Like the classic ‘57 Chevy or the fashionable Elvis Presley, SMART General Chairperson William A. Beebe is a classic in his own right.

Amtrak GO 663 General Chairperson Beebe is a classic railroad union man who has withstood the test of time. On Jan. 1, he will have completed 60 years of service as a union representative to the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, the former UTU, and now the SMART Transportation Division. More amazingly, Beebe will turn 86 years young in January and shows no signs of slowing down. Throughout those 60 years, the membership has been his top priority.

GO 663 Vice General Chairperson Gary J. Hopson offered highlights of Beebe’s union career. Beebe has been a delegate to every national convention since the creation of the UTU. He has witnessed, firsthand, the evolution of this union and has often been described as the union’s resident historian. Hopson said Beebe was an active participant in the formation of the UTU.

According to Local 227 (Hartford, Conn.) Chairperson Francis L. Ariola, Beebe proudly served in the U.S. Army, beginning in 1946. He later attended college at the University of South Florida and Southern Connecticut State University, where he earned both a bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate.

He hired out in 1951 with the New Haven Railroad (New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad) in the mail and baggage department, and on May 29, 1953, he transferred into operations as a brakeman, joining the BRT on Aug. 1, 1953. On Jan. 1, 1954, Beebe assumed the office of secretary of the local committee of adjustment for BRT Lodge 937 (now Local 1361). He was elected vice local chairperson in 1957 and became local chairperson in 1962. While serving simultaneously as local chairperson and Connecticut state legislative director from 1964 to 1976, he was elected general chairperson on the former New Haven and Hartford Railroad in 1976.

In 1983, Beebe led UTU-represented Metro North Railroad employees through a six-week strike that resulted in a ground-breaking agreement that has become the benchmark for commuter rail contracts. SMART TD members still benefit from that agreement today, Hopson said. “Now, our committee handles our own contract negotiations with Amtrak with minimal national involvement by the International. Beebe’s 1983 agreement opened the door to this.”

In addition to serving as general chairperson, Local 1361 delegate and trustee, Beebe is again the Connecticut state legislative director. He maintains a rigorous caseload and there are no indications that retirement will ever even be a consideration of his, Ariola said.

So how does Beebe keep it all going? According to Ariola, Beebe makes a concerted effort to stay healthy through physical fitness, diet and rest. “He is very health-conscious and works out every day, and has even been known to beat racquetball opponents 30 years his junior.”

Hopson provides more evidence, explaining that, “Beebe was a renowned handball player at the New Haven YMCA, and played masterful tennis even into his seventies.” According to Ariola, Beebe was a successful minor league pitcher in the Drummond Baseball League during the early 1950s. He is also a family man and ensures that he is involved in his two granddaughters’ lives by frequently visiting his daughter Susan’s family in Oregon. “He just loves his grandkids and they love their grandpa,” Ariola said.

“As the union’s ‘resident historian,’ Bill has accumulated a lot of stuff over the years. He keeps the most current union contract with him at all times, in the very likely event that someone asks his opinion about some vague, but pertinent, contractual provision. Members are always asking for his thoughts on various provisions because they trust him as highly competent, knowledgeable and wise. The funny thing is that, he really doesn’t need it since he practically has it memorized.”

“As a union representative and as a man, Bill is fearless. The carriers know that he is a fighter and that he is never intimidated.”

As SMART embarks on another year, members can rest assured that Bill Beebe will continue to take care of business by representing them with the highest quality. Bill Beebe truly is a one-of-a-kind classic.

TD officer, vice general chairperson elevated

A SMART Transportation Division officer and a general chairperson have been elevated to new Transportation Division positions following the retirement of Alternate Vice President R.W. “Red” Dare Nov. 30.

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Whitaker

The Transportation Division Board of Directors Dec. 19 elevated Executive Board Alternate John D. Whitaker III to fill the vacancy created by Dare’s retirement. At the same time, the board elected Union Pacific GO 927 Vice General Chairperson Jeremy Don Brooks to fill the executive board vacancy.

Whitaker began his railroading career in 1997 with CSX Transportation as a conductor and was promoted to engineer in 2002. Around that same time, Whitaker began his union career when he was elected local chairperson for engineers of Local 1106 at Rocky Mount, N.C.

Four years later, Whitaker ran for and was elected to the position of vice general chairperson of CSX General Committee of Adjustment GO 851. In 2011, he was elected general chairperson, a position that he still holds. In October 2013, Whitaker was appointed alternate to the executive board and then elected to that position by delegates at the 2014 Transportation Division convention. He currently resides with his wife and three sons in Jacksonville, Fla.

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Brooks

Brooks has been employed by Union Pacific railroad since 2004 and was promoted to engineer in 2007. Since then, he’s been active in the affairs of Local 937 at Mart, Texas. Brooks began his union career by serving as alternate delegate for his local. He rose through the ranks quickly, serving as local chairperson, vice general chairperson for GO 927 and then first vice chairperson for the committee. He currently holds both offices within the committee, as well as the position of local delegate. He currently resides in Burleson, Texas.

A member of Local 1525, Carbondale, Ill., Dare has served his union as local president, local chairperson, general secretary, vice general chairperson and general chairperson. He was elected alternate vice president-South by delegates at the UTU International convention in 2007. Dare was re-elected to the position in 2011 and at the first SMART Transportation Division convention in 2014.

Dare and his wife have three children and seven grandchildren. The family resides in Benton, Ill.

Our life at work: Jerry Anderton

Thirty years with men operating trains and yard engines. For the past 30 years I have been closely involved with men who operate trains and yard engines in Tennessee and neighboring states. The main portion of my service to the Norfolk-Southern was in Debutts Yard in Chattanooga, first as a yard switchman and from 1977 to 1988 as yard foreman. This promotion was due to accumulated seniority which allowed me to successfully bid on higher paying and less physically strenuous jobs as foreman. In addition, since February 1966, I have held numerous elective offices in the United Transportation Union, which represents workers in all operating crafts.

Read the complete story at Our Life at Work.

Conductor plays Santa online in your home

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Tommy Casey

Now that the holiday season is upon us, we can expect that Santa Claus is very busy. So much so, that he has given in to the digital age by making himself available online.

Our Santa – and there really is only one true Santa – is none other than BNSF Railway conductor and SMART Transportation Division Local 202 (Denver) member Tommy L. Casey.

In his spare time, Casey is working with TalktoSanta.com. For a nominal fee, Casey and others appear in live-streaming, interactive video for children around the world. There, they can interact with Santa, tell him what they would like for Christmas and hear his reassuring response. Although they cannot sit on his lap or tug at his beard, the magic of seeing and hearing Santa Claus talk to them from very far away adds to the mystique and the joy they experience.

The children and grandchildren of SMART members can now visit with Santa in the comfort of their own home if they have a computer with a webcam. By visiting www.talktosanta.com/vipsanta and entering Casey’s VIP code of 175, families can reserve a date and time for an in-house visit with Santa Claus.

Casey notes that Toys-For-Tots receives 15 percent of the proceeds for every live chat purchased on this site.

He said that he simply does it for the love of Christmas and his SMART brothers and sisters think his portrayal is great.

This is the first year that he has been Santa Claus professionally, but he has thought about it for years. The beard is real and has been growing whiter with each passing year. The few dark hairs that remained have been bleached white to match the rest.

In costume and on video, Casey portrays a strikingly convincing resemblance to good ole’ Saint Nicholas. In fact, when the lighting is just right and the Christmas spirit and good cheer are upon him, who’s to say that Casey isn’t the real thing?

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 Local 202 member Tommy L. Casey, also known as Santa Claus, is making a list and checking it twice.