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Wednesday, June 26, 2013    

Gibbons to succeed Knight as BLET national VP


The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) yesterday announced that Willard Knight will retire June 30 as national vice president following a 44-year railroad career.

Knight, who's served as a VP on the BLET's advisory board since April 2009, has battled esophageal cancer and related complications for the past several months, union officials said in a press release.

Alternate National Vice President No. 1 Richard Gibbons will be promoted to national vice president, effective July 1, to fill Knight's vacancy, they said.

Knight began his railroad career in 1969 as a fireman for the Norfolk & Western Railroad in Portsmouth, Ohio. He became a locomotive engineer in 1972 and first joined BLET Division 511 in January 1974. Knight later was elected local chairman of Division 511, general chairman of the BLET's Norfolk Southern-Eastern Region General Committee of Adjustment, third-alternate vice president and vice president.

"I personally thank Brother Willard for his valuable leadership and experience. The contracts he helped negotiate over the years have had a positive and lasting impact on a generation of locomotive engineers," said BLET National President Dennis Pierce.

Gibbons, who joined the BLET in November 1973, was elected alternate national VP No. 1 in December 2010. He previously was general chairman of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe General Committee of Adjustment and a local chairman of Division 502.

Gibbons began his railroad career with the Illinois Central Gulf in 1972 and became a locomotive engineer in 1973.

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