Firemen and Enginemen
Lodge No. 1 of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen was organized by Joshua Leach and 10 Erie Railroad firemen at Port Jervis, N.Y., in 1873. The following year, delegates from 12 lodges met and formed the “BLF Insurance Association” to provide sickness and funeral benefits for locomotive firemen.
In 1906, BLF changed its name to Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen and joined in bargaining with the three other major railway unions.
In 1919, with 116,990 members, the BLF&E led the fight for an eight-hour day for rail workers, and in 1926 pressed successfully for passage of the Railway Labor Act.