Walter A. Barrows was appointed Labor Member of the Board by President Obama in 2011. His appointment was confirmed by the Senate on September 26, and he was sworn into office on October 7. Mr. Barrows' appointment was unanimously supported by 12 different international and national unions which represent employees in the rail industry.
Prior to his appointment to the Board, Mr. Barrows was the Secretary-Treasurer of the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen. He was elected to that position in 1999, and reelected in 2002, 2006 and 2010. Since 1999, Mr. Barrows had been a labor member on the joint health care subcommittee that oversees the National Railroad Health and Welfare Plan, and chaired the health care committee for the six unions in the Rail Labor Bargaining Coalition.
Before being elected Secretary-Treasurer, Mr. Barrows served the union in a variety of local and national offices, including General Chairman for the Norfolk Southern General Committee and Grand Lodge Trustee. Since 2004, Mr. Barrows had also been a Trustee of the National Railroad Retirement Investment Trust, which manages the investment of the more than $26 billion in trust fund assets used to pay railroad retirement benefits.
A native of Ohio, Mr. Barrows started his railroad career with the Norfolk & Western Railroad in 1974, holding numerous positions within the railroad's signal department.