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Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees

One such union was the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes. The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes (BMWE) is an international union representing the workers who build and maintain the tracks, bridges, buildings and other structures on the railroads of the United States and Canada. Founded in 1887, at Demopolis, Alabama, as a fraternal organization by Track Foreman John T. Wilson, the BMWE membership forms a cross section of American culture. Their goals, interests and political backgrounds are as diversified as their heritage. Once a union with over 350,000 members, automation, the rise of the trucking and airline industry, coupled with the policies of a conservative government, has depleted the ranks of the BMWE to under 60,000 members. Since the passage of the Staggers Rail Act of 1978, railroad management, using competition as an excuse and the anti-union climate as an ally, has been selling or abandoning the nation's rail system. Realizing that our country is losing a vital link in its transportation network, the BMWE struggles to reverse this trend. Using our rich history as a guide - drawing on the strength of the union - we confront management in the halls of Congress and the State Legislatures, through use of our newspaper the BMWE Journal, the nation's court system and at the bargaining tables.

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