|ONLINE VERSION||APRIL 2001|
|LETTERS TO THE EDITOR|
|Dear Editor: Enclosed please find a poem I
thought you might enjoy sharing with others in a future issue of the
always informative BMWE Journal. I’ve enjoyed writing poetry for
about 12 years now and was recently reminiscing about the awesome
changes that have transpired since my tenure with the old Great
Northern began in 1959 and that is what prompted this epistle. Though
now retired, I continue to be a BMWE Union Member and will remain in
that status until that Big Gandy beckons me to those golden rails in
the sky. Thank you and keep up the good work. — Arley M.
Bischoff, Local Lodge 104, Harrington, Washington
The Great Northern had class, that railroad had
Yes, the click’s been removed, and so has the
The agent, the clerk, replaced by the — FAX.
The caboose is extinct, and there’s no section
Hardly a small branch line, is left now, I doubt.
And just one machine now, outworks 200 men strong.
Dear Editor: I work for BNSF on the Gateway Sub. On November 16, 2000, while working out on the tracks hitting down high spikes, pieces of metal or foreign objects came back up at such a velocity that it shattered my prescription safety glasses (left lens and left side shield) sending slivers of glass into my eye, face, cheek, nose, etc. Without a doubt this is not the first reportable injury that has to do with sub-standard eyewear. If any other BNSF employees have experienced a problem similar to the above where the prescription safety glasses failed, please contact me. Richard D. Fitzer, Box 171, Bieber, California 96009 (Local Lodge 236)
Dear Editor: I was working on a section gang north of DuBois, Illinois. When the local passenger trains came by, Tom Robinson, track supervisor, stood on the rear of the train and threw butterflies (notes) telling us when to check out. One day he told us to check out before noon, it was the first day of a two-week period, so we were not worried. But we did not get another minute that pay period. We received our checks at the freight office in DuBois. My check reads Nov. 16, 1931, E. McLeren - one cent only. I draw a pension from Illinois Central Railroad. I wonder what this check is worth. It’s still in A-1 shape. I enjoy the letters to the editor. I am 91, birthdate is February 4, 1910. If anyone has an idea what Brother McClerren’s one-cent check is worth, please contact him: Earl McClerren, 111 South 8th Street, Benton, Illinois 62812-3217.
From the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers California State Legislative Board:
Pensions and Social Security. Perhaps we were asking the wrong questions in the last election year. Our Congressmen do not pay into Social Security and, of course, therefore they do not collect from it. Social Security benefits were not suitable for persons of their rare elevation in society. They felt they should have a special plan for themselves. Many years ago they voted in their benefit plan. In more recent years, no Congress person has felt the need to change it. After all, it is a great plan. For all practical purposes their plan works like this:
When they retire, they continue to draw their same pay until they die, except it may be increased from time to time by cost of living adjustments. For example, former Senator Bradley and his wife may be expected to draw $7,900,000. This is calculated on an average life span for each. Their cost for this excellent plan is $ "0", nada, zilch. This little perk they voted in for themselves is free to them. You and I pick up the tab for this plan. This fine retirement plan’s funding comes directly from the General Fund. Our tax dollars at work!
Social Security, which you and I pay into every pay day for our own retirement, with an equal amount matched by our employer, is expected to pay an average of $1,000 per month to us at our retirement. We would have to collect our benefits for 681 years and one month to equal the Bradleys’ benefits.
Imagine for a moment that you could structure a retirement plan so desirable that people would have extra amounts deducted from their pay to enhance their own personal retirement income. A retirement plan that worked so well, railroad employees, postal workers, and others who were not in the plan would clamor to be included.
This is how good Social Security could be, if only one small change were made. That change would be to jerk the Golden Retirement Plan out from under the Congressmen and put them into the Social Security plan with the rest of us. Then watch how fast they would fix it! If enough people receive this, maybe a seed will be planted and maybe good changes will evolve.
Philip L. Thomas, age 73, of Dothan, Alabama, "retired with 43 years of railroading, from track force to management," mailed an estimated 3,700 copies (387 editors in 50 states, 477 major U.S. colleges, 1,859 town and city mayors, Congressmen, etc.) of the following letter last year in his campaign against oil prices and asks that everyone "flood Washington with your letters."
We all sit around complaining about the high prices of gasoline in Alabama. We complain and still the prices climb to an all time high. We, the people, can do something to let the major oil companies know it’s time to roll back the prices.
We have the power to boycott. Each month for the next five months some designated oil company will be the subject.
After five months, five major oil companies will have felt the affect of a month’s boycott. If no action is taken, we start again for the next five months.
There will have to be some organizations, such as the AARP, to direct us retired citizens.
So let’s write to this organization now. Other organizations will no doubt join in to direct their members.
Working together, we, the people, can control or have our voices heard. Let’s stop complaining and get started writing letters.