National 2nd Vice President /
About Natalie Miller
Hello, my name is Natalie Miller. I come from a big railroad family, having three parents, two uncles, and my father-in-law all retired BNSF, and currently, along with my husband, several cousins, brothers-in-law, and nephews all employed by BNSF and proud members of their respective Unions. As the youngest, I grew up a latch key railroad kid in Alliance, Nebraska. After my parents’ divorce, my Father hired on Burlington Northern as a Signal Maintainer, relocating to Douglas, Wyoming, where he continued to work until his retirement. My Mom, then a single mother of five, hired on with the Burlington Northern Railroad as a brakeman in May 1979. She met and married the man I would call my Dad shortly after. Dad was a Navy man turned first generation railroader, hiring on with the Burlington Northern on the B & B in 1977. He became an engineer in 1978 and retired in June 2007.
My Dad was a good man who took pride in his job and was well liked and respected by his peers. He was a proud BLET member throughout his career. But it was my Mom who was without a doubt my hero. She instilled in me and my older siblings the value of hard work. She was not afraid to be a strong, assertive woman taking on what was considered a “Man’s Job”, and she did it every bit as well as the men. She was tough as nails, but radiantly beautiful at the same time. She paid her dues and worked her way up to conductor very quickly by 1980. In 1992, she became one of the few female engineers in the Powder River Division on the BNSF. She retired in September of 2009. and continues to inspire me with her strength and courage since the passing of my Dad in 2019.
I married my high school sweetheart, Shawn Miller, January 7, 1989. Shawn, like my Dad, was also a Navy man and though we didn’t see it in the cards then, he would eventually become the third-generation railroader of his family. We moved back to Nebraska in 1990, and he found work as a welder in a non-union factory. Over the next three years, he would be “let go” from four different non-union factories, each time right before he would be eligible for any of their benefit packages. Also, over that three-year period, we were blessed with three healthy baby boys, and without the benefits of a union job with health insurance, we were blessed with three big hospital bills.
It was then that we truly realized the benefits of having a Union job, and Shawn started applying for every railroad job listed on the job boards. It would take almost two years, but in 1996, he was finally hired by the BNSF for Maintenance of Way. He transferred to the conductor program in 1999 and loaned out as a conductor for a year in Klamath Falls, Oregon. In 2001, we moved back to the Alliance, Nebraska terminal, and Shawn was promoted to engineer in 2004, which is also when he transferred from the UTU to the BLET Local 622.
In 2012, I became a founding member of BLET Auxiliary 622, and while we struggled to gain membership and momentum in the first few years, I continued with the Auxiliary as a Member-at-Large. In 2021, seeing the increasing strain the railroad had put on my husband and how unhappy he was with his job, I felt I needed to do something to help. I was inspired by the National Auxiliary President Kathleen Bisbikis to reform our local Auxiliary 622, and in May of 2022, we were re-established as an active charter. My goal as our local president is to increase our local auxiliary membership to represent at least 10% of our Local 622 Union membership, to provide education, support, and social services to our railroad families, and through fundraising eventually provide a scholarship program for children of our local members.
In October 2022, I had the honor of attending the Fourth Quadrennial Convention of the BLET Auxiliary as the Scribe. It was the first time I had ever attended a National Auxiliary event, and it was truly a life changing experience. I met and bonded with the most incredible women who understood everything that I was going through as a railroad wife. I was inspired to grow as an Auxiliary member and leader and decided to seek a position in which I could be of better service educating our members and advocating for our BLET Brothers and Sisters.
At the Convention, I was nominated and elected to the office of 2nd National Vice President/National Legislative Rep for the 2022-2026 term. I feel in this position I will be able to work hard on behalf of our Union Brothers and Sisters fighting for legislation promoting railroad worker safety and wellbeing, just as Unions have worked hard for my husband and my extended family. I am honored to serve the BLET Auxiliary on the local and National levels and look forward to helping meet and exceed the goals set forth for our Auxiliary for the next four years.