The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) will enter its 150th year on May 8, 2013. BLET notes that it is the oldest transportation labor organization in North America.
Founded May 8, 1863, in Detroit, Mich., BLET has its headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio. It has more than 500 divisions (locals) throughout the United States. BLET is returning to Detroit in May of 2013 to host a celebration of this milestone.
BLET was the first labor organization to obtain contracts with railroads. Among the earliest was an agreement with the former New York Central in 1875. Today, the BLET has dozens of contracts with railroads large and small and represents more than 55,000 active and retired locomotive engineers and trainment on 98 percent of rail trackage in the United States.