Administrative Vice President
Director, Department of Human and Civil Rights
With nearly 50 years as a member, union activist, and elected officer, John Bland is TWU’s most seasoned and respected officer.
While attending Texas Southern University he was one of the founding members of the Martin Luther King-inspired Progressive Youth Association that effectively battled Jim Crow through peaceful demonstrations. John’s activism played a key role in facilitating the racial integration of lunch counters, movie theaters and other community establishments in Houston. He also fought for the hiring of African Americans as clerks/salespersons at major department stores such as Foleys, Walgreen’s and J.C. Penny’s.
After serving in the U.S. Army in Korea, John found a new avenue for activism as a bus operator for Houtran (now Metro) and member of TWU Local 260 in Houston. He brought the same commitment to civil rights to equality on the job for his fellow Houston transit workers. He served the Local as Shop Steward for Local 260, Local Vice President, Secretary Treasurer and for many years as International Organizer and Representative.
He currently serves as International Vice President. He is also the Vice President of A. Philip Randolph Institution, President of CBTU and Vice President of Texas State AFL-CIO.
Respect of diversity in labor, civic and political involvement at the local, state and national levels has been a life-long commitment. He served as Precinct Judge for polling stations 230 and 583 for 30-plus years and the Senatorial District 13th Chair for two terms. He also served several terms on the HPD Citizens Review Committee.
He has served local school districts for the betterment and academic achievement of all children. He has organized transportation workers in Houston, Aldine, North Forest, Dayton, Lufkin, Humble, Conroe and Spring Independent School Districts. He has also organized several school districts in West Texas inclusive of El Paso.
John is a graduate of Phyllis Wheatley High School of 5th Ward in Houston, Texas, and studied at Texas Southern and during his union career at the George Meany Center for Labor Studies, University of Houston Labor Studies and Penn State Labor Studies.
Administrative Vice President
Rail Division Director
Gary Maslanka’s TWU career began in 1974 when he was hired on as a Carman at Penn Station. He was an active member of Local 2020 in Buffalo, New York and was appointed Vice President of the local in 1978. The following year he was elected to his first term as President of Local 2020, then reelected as President for five consecutive terms. In 1998, Maslanka became an International Staff Representative for the Railroad Division. He was named Director of the Railroad Division in 2004 and was elected as an International Vice President in 2005.
Throughout his career as an officer of TWU, Maslanka has been active in the negotiation of contracts on both the freights and Amtrak. He has also been a longtime advocate on rail safety issues and Carmen training initiatives. Before joining the Railroad Division Maslanka was assigned to work on several Federal Railroad Administration rulemakings with implications on Railroad Division members, and was assigned as a member of the FRA's Railroad Advisory Safety Committee from the committees inception.
Maslanka has also worked extensively with the Railway Workers Hazardous Materials Training Program, including the development of a comprehensive Hazardous Materials Peer Training Program on Conrail, and assisting with the development of a similar program on Union Pacific. Maslanka has testified before Congress on both rail safety and security issues and Presidential Emergency Board 242 relating Carmen skills and training issues.
Maslanka currently serves as Chairman of the Joint Council of Carmen, Helpers, Coach Cleaners and Apprentices (JCC), Vice Chairman of Amtrak Service Workers Council (ASWC), a member of the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee, an Advisory Board member of the Railway Workers Hazardous Materials Training Program and is active with the Rail Labor Division of the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department where he recently concluded a term as Chairman of the Rail Labor Division.