President Barack Obama announced Oct. 8 his intent to nominate Walter A. Barrows to a second term as the labor member to the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board. His nomination must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
Obama first nominated Barrows as the board’s labor member in 2011. His appointment was confirmed by the Senate on Sept. 26, 2011, and he was sworn into office on Oct. 7.
Prior to his service with the RRB, Barrows served as Secretary-Treasurer of the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen from 1999 to 2011. From 2004 to 2011, he also served as a labor trustee overseeing the National Railroad Retirement Investment Trust Fund.
Following the nomination of Barrows and several others to key administration posts, Obama said, “These men and women bring extraordinary dedication to their roles and will serve the American people well. I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come.”
Barrows, 56, is a native of Ohio. He started his railroad career with the Norfolk & Western Railway in 1974, holding numerous positions within the railroad’s signal department. Before being elected BRS secretary-treasurer, he served the union in a variety of local and national offices, including general chairman for the Norfolk Southern General Committee and as a Grand Lodge trustee.
He currently resides in Front Royal, Va, with his wife, Linda. They have three grown children.
Headquartered in Chicago, the RRB provides retirement, survivor, disability, unemployment and sickness benefit payments totaling almost $11 billion a year to railroad workers and their families under the Railroad Retirement and Unemployment Insurance Acts.
The agency is managed by a three-member Board comprised of a representative of rail labor, a representative of rail carriers, and a member representing the general public who serves as chairman. Barrows’ appointment was unanimously supported by 12 different international and national unions which represent employees in the rail industry.