|ONLINE VERSION||NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2000|
Railroad Crafts Scholarship
The Railroad Crafts Scholarship Foundation was established in 1995 in Ft. Worth, Texas. This Foundation provides financial aid to children of active, retired or deceased railroad employees who would be unable to attend college without financial assistance. Eligibility for scholarships is limited to children of railroad employees who are represented by a railway labor organization or were when they left active employment.
While funding for this Scholarship Foundation has come primarily from events held in Ft. Worth, it is the Foundation's desire to expand their efforts to other states. Fundraising events or contributions to support the Foundation are also encouraged. In order to obtain more information, please write Mr. John Mullen at 611 North Broadway, Joshua, Texas 76058.
This year "$29,000 was raised which enabled the Foundation to award 29 $1,000 scholarships to deserving dependents of the railroad industry from seven different crafts on 13 different railroads in 19 states," Mullen reported on June 1. A list of the award winners, eight of which went to children of BMWE members, follows the end of this article.
The deadline for scholarship applications for the 2001/2002 school year must be received by April 1, 2001, so anyone interested should contact Mr. Mullen at the above address to request an application form as soon as possible.
Scholarship recipients are selected by the Foundation's Board of Directors at their annual meeting in May.
Name of Student City/State of Residence Parent's Railroad Parent's Union
A Helping Hand — The John Edgar Thomson Foundation
The John Edgar Thomson Foundation, established in 1882 and endowed by the will of Mr. Thomson, third President of the Pennsylvania Railroad, offers limited financial aid to daughters of a deceased parent. The parent must have been in the active employ of any railroad in the United States at the time of death, although the cause need not be work-related. Whatever grant is awarded usually services to benefit all members of the family.
The monthly allowance made under the grant may cover the period from infancy to age 18; under certain circumstances to age 22, to assist grantees who are pursuing higher educational goals. The Foundation also offers special health care benefits.
Funding for the work of the Foundation is completely independent of any railroad. It neither solicits nor receives funds from the public. Further information and applications may be obtained by writing to:
Sheila Cohen, Director
BMWE Daughter Awarded Union Privilege Scholarship
Katie Smith received a $1,000 scholarship from the Union Plus Scholarship program this year. Katie's father, Royal L. Anderson II, is a member of Mountain & Plains Federation Local Lodge 1516.
A freshman at Huntington College in Huntington, Indiana, Katie is working toward a degree in musical performance, and plans to play the French horn professionally. "I look forward to using my gift as a tool to serve others and touch their lives, as well as worship in the church," Katie says.
Originally from Oak Creek, a small, coal-mining community in northwestern Colorado, Katie attended high school at SoRoCo High School, where she maintained a 4.0 grade point average, graduating first in her class of 31 students. In addition to the Union Plus award, she is also the recipient of scholarships from Union Pacific Railroad and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers.
Katie graciously agreed to allow us to print a copy of her winning essay which follows.
"Throughout high school, I anxiously looked forward to attending a Christian liberal arts college and obtaining a degree in music performance. My career goal is to play French horn professionally. I have just completed my first semester pursuing this dream at Huntington College, a small Christian school in Indiana. I have learned a great deal already and am growing to appreciate music even more. I look forward to using my gift as a tool to serve others and touch their lives, as well as worship in the Church.
"The small rural coal-mining community in northwestern Colorado where I was raised was drastically shaped by labor disputes. Violence and bloodshed earned miners the right to unionize and today, Labor Day is still the most important public celebration in Oak Creek. Eventually the union mine was run out of business by its non-union competitor and animosity is still present. Several long-time employees were recently laid off due to downsizing but their removal may have been based on nothing but personal or economic reasons. The union is the only way to protect loyal employees from such adverse circumstances.
"I am aware that as companies combine many older employees are released and new, less experienced and therefore less costly personnel are hired. In fact, I am thankful for my family's financial stability due to my stepfather's involvement with the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes. Royal is a bridge and building foreman for the railroad. With nineteen years of experience and four weeks of paid vacation per year, he is a fairly expensive employee to keep.
"When the Southern Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads underwent their recent merger, the BMWE was responsible for Royal's continued employment. Without the BMWE, our financial situation would be very different than it is today. I would be unable to attend college without the scholarship support I have received from the Union Pacific Railroad as an employee's daughter and also from another union, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. My family would also be unable to assist me with living and transportation expenses.
"The same type of merger situation also occurred at the ski area near my hometown after its purchase by the American Skiing Company. The new management released several long-time employees and lowered wages. This caused the ski patrol to vote by an overwhelming margin to unionize.
"All of these examples have made me increasingly aware of the support and protection I will need to seek in my career. Whether I work as a recording studio artist and perform for movie soundtracks or play with a symphony, I now see that involvement with the American Federation of Musicians would be beneficial to me. There is a local lodge, the Denver Federation of Musicians, Local 20-263, should I choose to become a performer here in Colorado. In pursuing this goal, a union scholarship would be of great assistance to me, as it is costly to attend a small private school and travel out of state."
‘The Leaders in Their Group'
The students selected for the Union Plus Scholarship represent a wide sampling of demographics, union affiliations, goals and accomplishments. Representatives from the American Association of Community Colleges, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges, and the United Negro College Fund judged the applications.
In the words of one judge, "[These students] are not only doing things. They're the leaders in their group."
The Scholarship Program
Since 1992, the Union Plus Scholarship Program has helped fulfill the educational dreams of students representing more than 13 million working families across the nation. The Union Plus scholarships are presented annually to union members or members of their families who want to begin or continue their college educations.
This year, 126 students, representing 33 AFL-CIO unions, have been selected from a pool of 4,800 applicants to receive more than $200,000 in scholarships. The amounts of the scholarships range from $500 to $4,000.
In addition to demonstrated academic ability, applicants submitted essays of no more than 500 words describing their career goals, detailing their relationship with the labor movement, and explaining why they are deserving of a union scholarship.
The program is open to members of participating unions, their spouses and dependent sons and daughters attending, or planning to attend, a four-year college or university, community college, technical college or trade school.
The program is funded and administered by Union Privilege and Household Credit Services. It is part of the union-endorsed Union Plus Credit Card Program.
More than 3 million union members carry the Union Plus Credit Card, a MasterCard with no annual fee and a low variable Annual Percentage rate. Eligibility in the program is not contingent upon carrying the card, which is issued by Household Bank (Nevada), N.A., an equal-opportunity lender.
Applications for the 2001 awards were available in September. To download the application from the Union Privilege website, go to http://www.unionprivilege.org. Or, clearly print your name, return address, telephone number and international union affiliation on a postcard and send it to: Union Plus Scholarship Program, P.O. Box 34800, Washington, DC 20043-4800.
Application deadline is January 31, 2001. Recipients' names will be announced May 31, 2001. However, due to the high volume of applications, only winners will receive notification.