About the BLET Auxiliary
The BLET Auxiliary was established in 1887 by a committee of ladies assisting with BLE Convention arrangements who saw the need to establish an organization to bring cohesiveness to the groups of women already meeting in railroad towns all over the country. On October 16, 1887, Auxiliary One was organized in Chicago, Illinois, and the organization continued to grow with auxiliaries throughout the United States and Canada.
Over the past decade, the Auxiliary has undergone many changes. While still maintaining the importance of our social and support roles, we recognize the need to be involved in the issues affecting our spouses, our members, and our families. Membership is open to spouses and family members of BLET members who are interested in what we do. We have also created an Associate Membership for those who would not otherwise qualify for membership but want to be a part of our efforts. Our meetings have become a forum for education and information exchange, and a way to meet and talk with those who share common goals. Our members actively participate in rallies and informational protests, educating the public about the obstacles faced by our rail employees and how that, in turn, affects entire communities across the nation. There is much that we can do that our spouses cannot for fear of retaliation by their employers. We are an organization of proactive members striving to create a safer work environment for rail employees and a positive lifestyle for those employees and their families.
Prior to 2006, we were known as the Grand International Auxiliary to the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. At the 2006 National Convention, we changed our name to the BLET Auxiliary in keeping with the changes that had occurred with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers as a result of the 2004 merger with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. As with the BLET, we too split off from our brothers and sisters in Canada and became a national rather than an international organization. For a complete history of the GIA to the BLET Auxiliary 1887-1919 click here.
Although we are a nonprofit organization and a completely separate entity from the BLET, we work closely with the BLET officers on a local, regional, and national level. We stand ready to help in any way we can with their issues, concerns, and mobilization actions. The only exception we make in working with the BLET is that we do not interfere in contractual issues unless we are specifically asked.