mmmmmmCompelling Historical Evidence That I Was Not an Ideal Union Officer

Grab Bag

A decade ago, I spent a term as president - aka: El Presidente - of Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (no damned "& Trainmen" in those days, by golly!) Division 65 (Caltrain). I still consider having served as an honor, even though I ran unapposed. My brothers and sisters could have voted "no", after all...

In most divisions, the president plays second fiddle to the Local Chairman (griever), the BLE equivalent to a shop steward. So it was with Division 65. I was, however constitutionally mandated to run monthly union meeting and lead BLE funeral processions (true!). I faithfully conducted union meeting under Robert's Rules of Order, and Local Secretary-Treasurer Doomie Welker* even let me use his gavel, but I had to give it back at the end of each meeting. My fellow engineers all selflessly remained alive to relieve me of any onerous funerial duties.
*Greg Welker, in all seriousness, should be placed in the BLE Hall of Fame for more than two decades of service as a division officer, mostly as Secretary-Treasurer, a thankless task that he conducted with unrelenting precision and energy.

At some point I decided to put out a monthly posting giving highlights of the latest union meeting. I thought that all evidence of these had perished in an untimely iMac fire that incidentally took out my Celine Dion videotape collection But LO! I recently ran across a hardcopy of one, transcribed further below.

After a thorough review of this offering, I wish to apologise for injuring the dignity of the BLE and those members who did not vote "no" in the election. Come to think of it, I also apologize to Amtrak and the FRA for the following:


[Report to the membership about a Division 65 meeting, April 2001 +-]

I was about to put out a report about what I have proclaimed as the first annual Division 65 Spring Fever and Lawn Care Tips Meeting (a.k.a. April Division meeting), when I received an irate call from everyone’s favorite ex Secretary Treasurer accusing those attending the meeting of checking their [bleeping] brains at the [bleeping] door of the [bleeping] meeting hall before the [bleeping] meeting.

I allowed as how this could be true, since the meeting began with a collective malaise that soon degraded to an outright stupor after Brothers Jaeger, Barry and Seanez commenced with their exceedingly B-O-R-I-N-G reports (mine, on the other hand, was delightfully funny and BRIEF).

What fired up Mr. I-can’t-stand-the-[bleeping]-General-Chairman was this: somewhere in the middle of the meeting (well, it was when Jim Barry awoke me by making farting noises with his arm pit, which, from past experience, is usually mid meeting), Martin expressed the opinion that perhaps the division should inquire to the various Caltrain contract bidders about their intentions towards us (well, yeah, we already know how far Herzog wants us to bend over, but there ARE other bidders…we think). I thought that this was a pretty good idea (knowledge is strength, and all of that) and asked Ron to compose some inquiries, after following Jim’s suggestion that we first discuss the idea with the International.

Innocent enough, right? Hah! Doctor The-Sky-Is-Falling concluded that (correct me here, Doomster, if I don’t get it right) we dumb [bleeps] at the meeting decided to negotiate with Herzog; give away BLE representation, Railroad Retirement and our first born children; and conduct genetic experiments to replace PCS engineers with an intelligent form of crab grass.

I do not believe that we elected to do any of this, but if we did, I will instruct Martin to alter the minutes to show that we really didn’t, honest. Even if we did, I don’t remember it - probably because our Local Chairman again used his strange hypnotic powers to erase my memory. So, even though Ron, undoubtedly in collusion with Martin, decided to obtain a golden parachute by selling out us to Herzog, I can assure the membership, and especially you, Greg, that I will not put up with these shenanigans, and that they will continue their dastardly acts only over Jim Barry’s dead body!

I hope that my proposed bold and selfless acts will allay your concerns that a small power elite may control the division. Of course we don’t. Trust me! Your division funds are safe with us and are earning excellent interest in numbered off-shore bank accounts. Also, the rumors of wild, depraved parties in the presidential bunker are untrue. The photographs are fakes; I can prove it!

Anyhow, I really can’t remember what else was talked about at the meeting, so nothing could have been very important. Maybe I’ll think of something in a little while, when I am out watering my new lawn. Do any of you have some tips upon the proper cultivation of crab grass?

- El Presidente