What is a Local Chairman?
By definition a Local Chairman is the primary interface between the organization (union) and the carrier (railroad). Simply put, that means the the Local Chairman is the person that represents the organization at the local level. We handle a variety of things including discipline cases, time slips, and vacations.
Keep in mind that definitions are often misleading. That is definitely true. I actually heard someone say that "LC" stands for Life Coach, instead of Local Chairman. Some days that is exactly the case.
The Local Chairman is typically the first call members make in variety of situations. Yes, we’re called for “one quick question” about something railroad related, but the conversations always drift to how their families have been. Our members call us for advice for many things happening in their lives. Maybe it's because we are good listeners, maybe it’s because we give good advice, maybe it's because people know we care, or maybe it's because we will give them the answer most other people won't. Whatever the reason we take those calls at all hours, and try to be the friend they need in those moments. We don’t do it for money, we don’t do it because of an obligation, we do it because it’s the right thing to do.
The right thing to do goes way beyond our membership. Union affiliation doesn’t change how we respond. We are all brothers and sisters. We’re all dealing with similar situations, regardless of location or railroad. We are all doing the best we can in the moment.
So the next time you call your LC for “one quick question” and they don’t pick up the phone, cut them some slack. They’re probably taking care of something for someone else.
We are often blamed, and rarely thanked but we take it all in stride. We are your Local Chairman, and we are always on your side.