December 5, 2013

CHICAGO (Dec. 5)—The UTU Illinois Legislative Board recently elected Local #768 Legislative Representative Carl Draper to become Alternate State Legislative Director.

Draper will succeed the former alternate, Grady Crippin of Local #432, who had resigned.

Draper, 40, is a Decatur native and holds a bachelor’s degree in history and English from Decatur’s Milliken University. He has 12 years of service as a switchman in Norfolk Southern’s vast Decatur Yard, which services the city’s two giant grain-processing industries, Archer Daniels Midland and Tate & Lyle (formerly A.E. Staley Manufacturing Co.).

Although his local represents only NS employees, Draper works closely with Lloyd Holman, the retired former legislative representative for Local No. # 453, who represented employees at one of the city’s other major Class I railroads, Canadian National.

Draper’s union activities are not confined to railroading, however.

He also serves as President of the Decatur Trades & Labor Assembly (AFL-CIO), which includes 14,000 union members in and around the Decatur area. Draper believes his work with the Trades & Labor Assembly will enable him to add considerable value to his work at the UTU.

“What excites me in general is the chance to get our message out and help our local LR’s become better LR’s,” he said, noting that the UTU’s record in getting pro-labor legislation passed in the Illinois General Assembly has become a beacon to UTU units in other states.

“Our legislative effort here in Illinois has a great history,” he said. “For years the Illinois Legislative Board has secured the passage of major legislation to protect the health and safety of its members in the workplace and has shown the way to the other states.”

But Draper pointed out that such accomplishments cannot be credited solely to the state legislative director and his team in Springfield because the real push comes from the locals, where members are constantly urged to be aware of dangerous working conditions, unhealthy work practices and supervisors who subvert health and safety by bending the rules—and to report their observations to the LRs.

“In order to be successful at other things we do, we first have to make sure our locals are effective,” he said. “We have to reach out to members via social media, rally the members to call their elected representatives when a vote is needed and generally make sure our people are empowered. That’s what LR’s really do.”

“I’m pleased to have Carl on our leadership team here in Illinois,” said State Director Robert W. Guy. “He brings a lot of intangibles to that position and carry’s on a rich tradition of representation from the Decatur area.

“I also want to express my appreciation to the other candidates in the special election for Alt. Director,” Guy said. “Local #1597 LR Jeff Votteler and Local #1973 LR Thomas Rodgers are proven leaders and are very active for the board and their local members.”

As a result of Draper’s election to the office of Alternate State Director, Jeff Votteler will replace Draper on the Illinois UTU PAC committee.