SMART Transportation Division President-elect Jeremy R. Ferguson addresses the Second SMART TD Convention on Sunday, Aug. 11, in Las Vegas.

LAS VEGAS – SMART GEC Member and Transportation Division (TD) Vice President Jeremy R. Ferguson of Local 313 (Grand Rapids, Mich.) was elected President – Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, shortly after the opening August 11th of the union’s Second Transportation Division Convention at the Mirage Resort in Las Vegas.
Ferguson was challenged for the office by fellow TD Vice President John England (Local 1674, Los Angeles, Calif.) and Robert “Bob” Keeley, former general chairperson of GCA 342 (CSX – Northern District) out of Local 1951 (Albany, N.Y.). Ferguson received 380 votes of the 440 ballots cast.
“Get ready to go to work … It’s going to take the upmost dedication and determination, but we will fight the injustices to the end,” Ferguson said. “We will stand shoulder-to-shoulder, and I will lead from the front. Your voices will be heard, and you will hear my voice.
“General chairpersons, state directors – you deserve more from us, and we will deliver.”
Alternate National Legislative Director Gregory Hynes (Local 1081, Phoenix, Ariz.) was elected National Legislative Director, defeating Utah State Legislative Director F. Jay Seegmiller (Local 166, Salt Lake City, Utah) in a 255-to-185 vote. Hynes will succeed John J. Risch III, who previously announced he would not seek re-election.
SMART TD National Legislative Director-elect Gregory Hynes addresses delegates Aug. 11 at the Second SMART TD Convention in Las Vegas.

Incumbent TD Vice Presidents Brent Leonard (Local 202, Denver, Colo.), Calvin Studivant (Local 759, Newark, N.J.) and John D. Whitaker III (Local 1106, Rocky Mount, N.C.) were returned to office by acclamation.
Also elected TD Vice President by acclamation were Alternate TD Vice President Chadrick Adams (Local 331, Temple, Texas), Executive Board Member and GCA 049 General Chairperson Jamie Modesitt and Joe M. Lopez, general chairperson of GCA 009 (BNSF).
Additionally, General Chairperson D.B. Wier, Jr., (GCA 919, Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis) of Local 469 was elected TD vice president, defeating General Chairperson Tom Pate (GCA 20, BNSF), president of Local 1081 in Glendale, Ariz., and General Chairperson Billy Moye (GCA CSX-SCL) of Local 1971 in Atlanta, Ga.
Meanwhile, Alternate Vice President Bus – East Alvy Hughes (Local 1596. Charlotte, N.C.) defeated Bonnie Morr (Local 23, Santa Cruz, Calif.) and incumbent Vice President Bus Adhi Reddy (Local 1785, Santa Monica, Calif.) for TD Vice President Bus.
Article 21B, Section 35, of the SMART Constitution provides for a successor to the president of the Transportation Division in the event a vacancy occurs between conventions. To provide for such a contingency, delegates chose TD Vice President-elect Leonard to that position.
Kentucky State Legislative Director Jared Cassity was elected Alternate National Legislative Director. Waverly Harris, TD Alternate Vice President Bus – East, was elected to that position by acclamation.
Alternate Vice President Bus – West Guillermo Rosales was returned to that office, defeating Erskins Robinson, general chairperson of GCA SMB, out of Local 1785.
Among five candidates for four TD alternate vice president positions, Scott Chelette, Gary Crest, Larry Miller Jr. and Christopher Bartz were elected.
SMART TD Board of Appeals members elected by acclamation are Tim Flynn (engine services), Tessa Collins (road service), Rick Pauli (commuter), and Brenda Moore (bus).
Incumbent Kevin Smith won an election and will return as the Board of Appeals yard representative.
Elected to the TD Executive Board by acclamation were California Assistant State Legislative Director Mike Anderson, Dale Gerkin, John Dunn, Rex Allen and New York State Legislative Director Sam Nasca.
Ohio State Legislative Director Stu Gardner was elected Alternate to the Executive Board by acclamation.
The newly elected officers assume their roles officially on Oct. 1.

John Lesniewski, vice president and successor president of the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, has retired, effective July 1, 2018.
John Lesniewski
Lesniewski, a member of Chicago Local 1534, started his railroad career on the Baltimore and Ohio Chicago Terminal Railroad (CSXT) on Oct. 29, 1972. After holding local offices with the then-United Transportation Union (UTU), Lesniewski was elected local chairperson in 1982 and was re-elected by acclamation in 1986, 1990, 1994 and 1998, serving for more than 16 years. He also served as the local’s delegate at UTU conventions in 1987, 1991, 1995, 1999 and 2003.
“It has been my privilege and pleasure to serve the membership as an officer of our great Union for almost 36 of my 46 years of railroad service. My sincere thanks to all of the Union members, officers and staff who have supported me along the way,” Lesniewski said. “I will never forget you.”
In 1995, Lesniewski was elected part-time secretary of the CSXT/B&O General Committee (GO-049) after 26 years as a trainman and 16 years as a part-time representative. He was elected by acclamation to a full-time position as first vice general chairperson in 1999 and re-elected to that position in 2003. Upon the retirement of former General Chairperson J. T. Reed on July 1, 2004, Lesniewski was elected by acclamation as general chairperson on the former B&O CSXT property and then re-elected for successive terms by acclamation in 2007 and 2011.
On Feb. 28, 2011, Lesniewski was elected as second alternate vice president-East by the UTU board of directors and was subsequently elected, overwhelmingly, as a full vice president by delegates at the 2011 UTU Convention and re-elected to the position at the SMART TD convention in 2014. At the 2014 convention, he was also elected “successor president” by the delegates. He also served as general vice president on the General Executive Council of SMART.
Lesniewski served on the National Negotiating Committee for the July 1, 2008, National Mediation Agreement under both former-Presidents P. C. Thompson and M. B. Futhey Jr. He also served on the 2011 National Negotiating Committee, having been appointed by Futhey in December 2009. He served on his third National Negotiating Committee starting in 2015, having been appointed by Transportation Division President John Previsich, which resulted in the National Rail Agreement that was ratified Dec. 1, 2017.
“As I step aside, I encourage younger members to get involved in the labor movement to protect their own future as well as the future of their co-workers,” Lesniewski said. “Being a Union representative, in any capacity, is a prodigious source of personal satisfaction if it is undertaken for the correct purpose of making a difference by helping and protecting our membership.
“As an added bonus, within our Union, you end up working with a dedicated group of consummate professionals as I have.”
President Previsich commented: “I have had the pleasure of working with Brother Lesniewski during my entire career as a nationally elected officer. His professionalism and expertise are at the highest level and his integrity and commitment are confirmed by all who know him. John has been a tremendous asset to our union in all respects and a close and dear friend to me personally. It is my distinct honor to wish John and his wife, Gail, a long, healthy and prosperous retirement.”
John and Gail have been married for 45 years and reside in Noblesville, Ind. They have four children, three of whom are married, and eight grandchildren.
The vacancy created by Lesniewski’s retirement will be filled by the elevation of Alternate Vice President Brent Leonard, effective July 1.
Leonard, 45, has served as SMART TD alternate vice president since Jan. 1, 2013. He was elevated to the position by the Board of Directors on Dec. 28, 2012, and was re-elected to the position in 2014.
Brent Leonard
A member of Local 202 in Denver, Leonard started railroading in 1997 on Union Pacific as a conductor/switchman. He was promoted to engineer in 1998 and was elected local chairperson in 2001. He was elected vice general chairperson of his general committee, GO-953, in 2003; senior vice general chairperson in 2007 and general chairperson in 2011. GO-953 represents about 4,000 members and is one of the largest general committees in SMART TD. 
As general chairperson, Leonard represented Union Pacific employees encompassing 10 states as well as four regional short-line railroads representing both operating and non-operating crafts. Leonard negotiated several first-of-their-kind agreements providing significant pay increases, improvements to his members’ quality of life and predictive time off.
Leonard has filled past roles of chairman of Union Pacific Railroad Employee Health Systems (UPREHS), chairman of the District 1 General Chairpersons’ Association and has served in various leadership positions for the Union Pacific General Chairpersons’ Association.
Leonard and his wife live in Topeka, Kan., and have two daughters.

The negotiating team representing SMART Transportation Division members on the Kyle Railroad has reached agreement with the carrier on a proposed contract for all crafts under its jurisdiction. The Transportation Division represents engineers, conductors, brakemen, maintenance of way employees, signal employees, mechanics, helpers and apprentices, carmen and welders.

General Chairperson Brent Leonard, who was assisted by Local 44 President and Chairperson William Strickland, Local Secretary & Treasurer Dustin Meiller and Vice Local Chairperson Jacob Dougherty, led the negotiating team.

Assistant President John Previsich, who participated in the negotiations, praised the team for its efforts. “This round of negotiations was made more difficult by the sale of RailAmerica to Genesee and Wyoming partway through the process. The sale introduced a number of new concerns regarding preservation of benefits and pay that weren’t present at the start of the negotiations.

“The team did an excellent job of securing the current benefit levels while obtaining new provisions that guarantee pay and time off, along with excellent improvements to wages and working conditions.”

“The proposed agreement contains new working conditions that provide for a quality of life unseen on Class I railroads,” said Leonard. “For the first time on the Kyle Railroad, our members can secure a guaranteed level of benefit and a cost-sharing cap on their health insurance plan.”

The tentative agreement and ballots have been mailed to affected members and ballots must be returned no later than April 22, 2013.

The Kyle Railroad is a short line railroad operating from north central Kansas into eastern Colorado, with 625 miles of track. It interchanges with BNSF Railway, Nebraska, Kansas & Colorado Railway and Union Pacific. 

Commodities moved on Kyle include wheat, soybeans, milo maize, alcohols, siding asphalt and roofing granules.

UTU Assistant President and International Vice President John Previsich has been named to the additional post of UTU general secretary and treasurer (GS&T) by the UTU Board of Directors.
Previsich also will continue handling assignments as an International vice president, but those assignments will be pared down given his new duties.
Previsich succeeds GS&T Kim Thompson, who retired Dec. 31. UTU International Vice President Delbert Strunk had been elevated to that post, effective Jan. 1, but Strunk chose, instead, to retire Dec. 31.

The UTU Board of Directors made additional appointments:

* UTU Alternate Vice President Troy Johnson becomes an International vice president, succeeding International Vice President Paul Tibbit, who retired Dec. 1.

* UTU Alternate Vice President John England becomes an International vice president, filling a position vacated by Strunk.

* Vice General Chairperson Jeremy Ferguson (CSX, GO 049) and General Chairperson Brent Leonard (Union Pacific, GO 953) become alternate vice presidents, filling the positions of alternate vice president vacated by Johnson and England.

Bruce Feltmeyer; Feltmeyer, Bruce; International Employee

Additionally, the United Transportation Union Insurance Association (UTUIA) Board of Directors elected Bruce Feltmeyer as general secretary and treasurer of UTUIA, succeeding Kim Thompson in that position. Feltmeyer also holds the position of director of staff at the UTU Headquarters in North Olmsted, Ohio.

Biographies of the new officers are available – or will become available in the case of Ferguson and Leonard – at by clicking on “About the UTU,” then clicking on “officers” and scrolling down to the names.

Feltmeyer’s biography is available at by clicking on “About the UTU,” then clicking on “UTU/UTUIA Staff” and scrolling down to his name.