|ONLINE VERSION||SEPTEMBER 1999|
|BMWE Political Director Leaves For FRA|
|Political Director Michael DeEmilio left the service of BMWE
August 15, 1999 for a position in the Federal Railroad Administration. At the FRA, Brother
DeEmilio will serve as a SACP coordinator and as a labor and legislative liaison.
DeEmilio was hired by Amtrak as a track laborer in 1975. He was soon promoted by bid to the positions of foreman and machine operator.
Elected local chairman of Lodge 3012 in 1980, and re-elected in 1983 and 1986, DeEmilio was active in BMWE's Pennsylvania Federation until his appointment to a Grand Lodge position in 1987. DeEmilio also served as Pennsylvania State Legislative Director, first being elected in 1982.
Throughout the 1986 strike on Guilford-owned railroads in New England, DeEmilio served as a strike coordinator in New York.
In 1987, DeEmilio joined the Grand Lodge staff as Assistant to the President for State Legislative Affairs, replacing the retiring Carl Mulford.
Under DeEmilio, the coordination of state legislative directors' activities moved from Detroit to Washington, D.C. Taking on additional duties, he led the growth of BMWE's Legislative Department from watching legislatures and regulatory agencies to a bigger role in BMWE contract negotiations and in procuring labor-friendly national legislation.
DeEmilio began the now well established practice of regularly using BMWE state legislative directors to lobby in Washington, D.C. With his coordination, this cost-efficient and effective practice was helpful in the 1995 bargaining round and other major issues affecting BMWE members.
Recognizing BMWE's dire need for grass roots political action, DeEmilio also helped create BMWE's COPE program in 1993 to involve more members in the political process and to provide BMWE nationally with more lobbying clout. During his tenure, contributions to the Maintenance of Way Political League also increased.
In recognition of his abilities, DeEmilio was the guest of honor at several laudatory events, including a luncheon "roast" attended by more than 50 Washington labor legislative leaders July 30, 1999. Master of Ceremonies Charlie Moneypenny of the TWU coordinated reminisces and backhanded compliments of Mike's BMWE career, many of which focused on Mike's unerring ability to find high quality food, often Italian, in unexpected locations throughout the country, his voluble personality, his keen sense of the legislatively possible (e.g. what a legislator will do rather than what he/she says), and his cordial relationship with the labor community--both leadership and rank-and-file.
BMWE President Mac Fleming, who made a special trip to attend the event, presented Mike with "one of these cheap watches we usually save for your retirement" (remember: this was a roast). By letter, Executive Board member Bruce Glover praised Mike's mastery of the "Washington Congressional Greeting" (a slap on the back with one hand, a handshake with the other, meanwhile slipping a campaign contribution into a legislator's coat pocket, balancing a plate of hors d'oeuvres, holding a full wine glass, and talking concisely but non-stop).
Fleming, on behalf of the BMWE, also took that occasion to thank Brother Mike DeEmilio (A.K.A. BMWE's answer to Danny DeVito) for his many years of service to the members and wished him well in his new position. At least one FRA employee will now understand when BMWE talks for you.