09 October 2009

Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen

Clarence Moseley Peel
Nov 8, 1897
Oct 8, 1955

Roberta City Cemetery; Crawford County, Georgia

Below the dates on Clarence's marble gravestone is the insignia for the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen. This union was founded in 1883 in Oneonta, New York when eight brakemen met in a caboose in the yards of the Delaware and Hudson Railroad to form a benevolent organization. By the time of its merger with three other railroad labor unions to form the United Transportation Union in 1969, it had the greatest membership of any of the operating railroad brotherhoods.

Once a protective organization and an insurance society, the Brotherhood services its members on the collective bargaining and grievance front as well as in legislative, political, and fraternal activities. The Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen (BRT) was established to represent members' interests in obtaining a satisfactory contract with management.

The rail service members of the BRT included conductors and their assistants, dining car stewards, ticket collectors, train baggagemen, brakemen, and train flagmen. The yard service members of the BRT included yardmasters, yard conductors, switchtenders, foremen, flagmen, brakemen, switchmen, car tenders, operators, hump riders, and car operators. In 1933, the BRT organized interstate bus operators, and included them under BRT contracts held with U.S. bus companies.

Records of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen (1883-1973) are housed at the Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library, Ithaca, NY.

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