Who is Railroad Workers United?

We are a diverse group of railroad workers, family members and retirees from throughout North America. We have members from all the rail crafts and all of the railroad unions. RWU also allows for "Solidarity Members" from different walks of life - mostly in rail related industries - who support our efforts.

 

RWU membership is open to all railroad workers, who are not managers or supervisory personnel,  in North America- - Canada, the US and Mexico.

 

Click Here to read our Annual Activity Reports. These are brief summaries of our activities and accomplishments in recent years.

 


RWU Steering Committee

The Railroad Workers United International Steering Committee (ISC) has evolved into a diverse group of railroad workers from coast to coast. The Steering Committee has included lots of engineers and trainmen from the U.S., but also a trainman/engineer from Canada; a contract locomotive servicing worker from Chicago; a conductor from a non-union railroad in Wisconsin; a hostler/laborer from Chicago; a track worker from Ohio; electrician from California and Virginia;  machinists from New York and Kansas City; car knockers from Chicago, Indiana, and Georgia, an electrician from Kansas City, and a signalman from Florida.

Seniority among the current group ranges from 5 to 30 years. Crafts represented include: engineer, conductor, switchman, machinist, electrician and signal maintainer. Over the years, the ranks of the ISC has been drawn from fellow workers from the following unions: Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen (BLET); Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division (BMWED); Industrial Workers of the World (IWW); International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); International Association of Machinists (IAM); National Conference of Firemen & Oilers (NCFO); SMART (formerly the United Transportation Union - UTU); Teamster Canada Rail Conference (TCRC); and the Transportation Communications Union (TCU).

Members on the current Steering Committee work for a number of rail carriers including: Amtrak (AMTK), Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), Canadian National (CN), CSX, Norfolk Southern (NS), and Union Pacific (UP), and KEOLIS  The ISC members and the Trustees are drawn from eleven states/provinces: Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Ontario, and Wisconsin. (If interested, view the listings of previous Steering Committee members).

 

Current RWU Steering Committee

2018 - 2020

    
 
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     Ron Kaminkow: General Secretary     Ron has served as the RWU Secretary and now as General Secretary since 2008, and currently heads up the RWU Newsletter Committee. Prior to hiring out as a brakeman with Conrail in 1996, he served as President of AFSCME Local 634 in Madison, WI. In 2005, Brother Ron helped to found Railroad Operating Crafts United (ROCU), an RWU predecessor. A former brakeman/conductor/engineer for Conrail and later NS in Chicago (UTU #168) and Elkhart, IN (UTU#194), Ron currently is working as an Amtrak engineer in Reno, NV where he is a member of BLET #51.    

Ron Kaminkow - General Secretary

Brother Ron has served as the RWU Secretary and now as General Secretary since 2008, and currently heads up the RWU Newsletter Committee. Prior to hiring out as a brakeman with Conrail in 1996, he served as President of AFSCME Local 634 in Madison, WI. In 2005, Brother Ron helped to found Railroad Operating Crafts United (ROCU), an RWU predecessor. A former brakeman, conductor, and engineer for Conrail and later NS in Chicago (UTU #168) and Elkhart, IN (UTU#194), Ron formerly worked for Amtrak in Milwaukee (BLET #27) and Chicago (BLET #40). He currently is working as an Amtrak engineer in Reno, NV where he is the Division Delegate and a member of BLET #51. This is his sixth term on the ISC.


Convention 2018.jpg

Hugh Sawyer - Treasurer

Hugh was elected one of the original three Co-Chairs of RWU in 2008 and after a two-year hiatus from the Steering Committee, returned to that position in 2012. In 2014 he took on the Treasury position. He is the former President of BLET #316, NS in Atlanta, GA. A former Local Chairman, Hugh and his division have been instrumental in the struggle to win – and then preserve and protect -- one-member-one-vote officer elections in the BLET. Brother Hugh has served on the Steering Committee of Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) and has been active in BLET national affairs.


Joe Mulligan - Organizer

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Brother Joe began railroading as a Conductor, first on the Massachusetts Central Railroad and then Amtrak as an Assistant Conductor on Boston commuter rail operation and on the "Vermonter" operating to Saint Albans, Vermont. When Amtrak lost the commuter contract, he hired with the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad as a Conductor, after which he hired out on the New England Central Railroad and became an engineer. During the financial crisis of 2008, Joe went booming, working for the Alabama & The Gulf Coast Railway, soon returning thereafter to New England to work the Boston & Maine Railroad (Pan Am Railways),   finally returning to commuter passenger operations in Boston, now operated by Keolis Commuter Services. Brother Joe has held continuous membership in either UTU/Smart and the BLET since 2001, serving in various capacities including State Legislative Rep and Vice Local Chairman. This is his first term on the RWU Steering Committee.


  
 
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James Wallace - Recording Secretary

Brother James has served as both RWU Co-Chair and Recording Secretary over the last six years. In addition, he currently serves as the RWU International Solidarity Liaison. James has worked as a road conductor for the BNSF out of Lincoln, NE. and is a member of UTU #305, having worked for the company for seven years. He recently attended engine school and will soon be set up as an engineer. This is James’ fourth term on the Steering Committee.


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Ross Grooters - ISC Co-Chair

Ross has more than a decade with Union Pacific railroad, and currently works in Des Moines, IA as a locomotive engineer. This is his first term as Railroad Workers United Co-Chair.  He is a member of the BLET #778 in Des Moines, IA and serves his local as the Legislative Representative for the BLET Iowa State Legislative Board.  As a member leader with Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, a non-profit dedicated to putting people before profits, Ross' work is wide-ranging, and includes workers' justice issues such as stopping wage theft and promoting a $15/hr. minimum wage.  As a railroad worker, he follows in the footsteps of his grandfather who was employed as a Missouri Pacific car repair worker in Omaha, NE.


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Aaron Dixon - ISC Co-Chair

Brother Aaron hired on with Union Pacific at the Kansas City Diesel Shop in 2007 as a journeyman machinist. He was elected President of the International Association of Machinists (IAM) “Heart of America” Lodge #27 in 2015, being re-elected in 2017. He was a founding member of the Kansas City All Rail Craft Coalition (ARCC) in 2017. This is Aaron’s first term on the RWU Steering Committee.


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Bernie Mahoney – ISC Co-Chair

Brother Bernie works as a Signal Maintainer for CSX in Okeechobee Fl. where he is a member of the Brotherhood of Railway Signalmen (BRS) local #16. Formerly employed by United Parcel Service (UPS), Bernie was a steward and a member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT).  Prior to hiring out on CSX, Bernie worked construction. Born and Raised in Bridgeport Ct., he has resided in Port St. Lucie, FL the past 10 years. Brother Bernie has been engaged in PTC installation at CSX and has a total of five years on the railroad. This is Bernie’s first full term on the Steering Committee, having been appointed to fill a vacancy in late 2017.


Andrew Weir - Steering Committee

Andrew Weir has thirty years with Canadian National (CN) and is currently the Vice General Chairman for the Teamster Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) CN Central CTY. He is also the Locomotive Engineer Local Chairperson Division #240 and Safety Rep Division #240. Andy hired out with CN Rail in 1988 and has been a union rep since 1997. He is married with two kids. This is Andy’s third term on the RWU Steering Committee.


   Paul Matchett

Adam Haslag - Steering Committee

Brother Adam first joined the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) #257 in 1997, working out of Jefferson City, MO.  He worked in the trade for nearly a decade before hiring out on the Union Pacific in April of 2005 as a diesel electrician, joining IBEW #1832.  In 2016, he was elected as Chairman of the Executive board of the local, based in Kansas City, MO. Adam is a founding member of the local All Rail Craft Coalition (ARCC) and sits on the Steering Committee. He is active in local community and labor organizing efforts including Stand Up KC and The Fight for $15. He expects to work another 19 years on the railroad before retiring. This is his first term on the RWU Steering Committee.

 


   John Vitaska

Dan Stroup - Steering Committee

Brother Dan is a CN Locomotive Engineer and Vice Local Chairman for BLET Division #188 in Superior, WI. He began railroading in 2011 with CSX before hiring on with CN in 2014. In addition, he serves as a delegate to the Duluth Central Labor Body (AFL-CIO), is a member of Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) and gives time to Operation Lifesaver (OLI) as an authorized volunteer. Dan joined RWU in 2016, became RWU Recording Secretary in 2017 and was elected at the 6th Biennial Convention in 2018 to the RWU International Steering Committee. This will be his first full term on the ISC.


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Will Young - Steering Committee

Brother Will has worked as a heavy equipment mechanic for 14 years and a Union Pacific machinist for the past seven. He is a committeeman for the International Association of Machinists (IAM) and serves as Local Chairman of IAM #27.  Will is an active member and an Organizer of the All Rail Craft Coalition (ARCC) and works at the UP diesel shop in Kansas City, MO. This is Will’s first term on the RWU Steering Committee.


Jon Flanders - Trustee

Brother John was an RWU Co-founder and one of the original Co-Chairs. He worked for 25 years at the CSX diesel shop in Selkirk, NY and was a member and former President of IAM Lodge #1145. He retired from the railroad in 2013. Jon has been active in recent years organizing the James Connolly Forum series in Troy, New York, helping out with the initial meetings of the Albany All Rail Crafts Coalition, and has been active in the Albany Cuba Solidarity Committee. He is always working on his documentary photography. 


   Brian Clark - ISC Alternate

Ed Michael - Trustee

Brother Ed was a co-founder of RWU and one of the original Co-chairs. Ed worker for Union Pacific and prior to that, Missouri Pacific and C&EI for a combined total of 43 years. Having first hired out as a telegrapher, Ed went on to become an engineer. In his final years at UP, Ed was a "double-header" and belonged to both UTU #979 and BLET #724. Based in Salem, IL, Ed retired from the railroad in 2014.


   
  
 
  
    
  
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Chet Whyers - Trustee

Brother Chet is a Founding Member of RWU and was its first Treasure for six years. He worked for Union Pacific and prior to that Missouri Pacific for 45 years. He was a member of UTU #979 and worked out of Salem, IL. In 2012, Chet retired from the railroad.


  Members of the RWU International Steering Committee in Chicago, IL at the close of the 5th Biennial Convention, April 6th, 2016. They will hold office until the next Convention, Spring of 2020.

Members of the RWU International Steering Committee in Chicago, IL at the close of the 5th Biennial Convention, April 6th, 2016. They will hold office until the next Convention, Spring of 2020.