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Rail News: Labor

Bates becomes UTU's first African-American legislative director


Earlier this month, the United Transportation Union (UTU) marked a historic moment in its 140-year history. The union swore in its first-ever African-American legislative director.

William "Willie" Bates took oath as the UTU's District of Columbia legislative director. He succeeds Steve Fritter, who retired.

Bates was elected president of the union's Local 1933 in 1992 and vice local chairperson in 2000. He began his railroading career in 1981 as a conductor at the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railroad (which now is part of CSX Transportation), and in 1986 became a conductor at Amtrak.

"I am honored by the confidence placed in me to serve as a catalyst for improved railroad safety," Bates said in a news item posted on the UTU's Web site.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/25/2008