November 27, 2015

OSHA issues final rule on retaliation, whistleblowing


WASHINGTON - The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today issued a final rule establishing procedures and time frames for handling employee retaliation complaints under the National Transit Systems Security Act (NTSSA) and the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA). The final rule is effective Nov. 9, 2015. NTSSA establishes protections against retaliation for public transportation agency employees who engage in whistleblowing activities related [...]

Rail industry had safety technology decades ago

WASHINGTON — In 1981, while traveling on a corporate jet, Richard M. Bressler, the chairman of the Burlington Northern Railroad, hit on an idea: What if the technology used by airlines to track the location of planes and help prevent accidents was applied to the rail industry? Mr. Bressler, an engineer by training and a [...]

Railroad Retirement Board releases actuarial report


Chicago – The railroad retirement system will experience no cash-flow problems during the next 32 years; barring a sudden, unanticipated, large drop in railroad employment or substantial investment losses, according to the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) in its report to the President and Congress. The news gets better. This 32-year estimate is based on [...]

Operation RedBlock Director Bobby Bonds dies

Operation RedBlock

Robert “Bobby” Bonds, 61, long-time Amtrak Operation RedBlock director and a 39-year Amtrak employee, died Oct. 29, 2015. Bonds had committed his life to Operation RedBlock, a labor-developed, management-adopted drug-and alcohol-prevention/intervention program begun more than 30 years ago to provide assistance to thousands of union brothers and sisters on various railroads. A featured speaker at [...]

Previsich, Wytkind: ‘We want trains to be safer’


[As published By John Previsich And Edward Wytkind in The Modesto Bee] California has more museums dedicated to railroads than any other state in our country – and it’s easy to see why. From the transcontinental railroad to the developing high-speed rail system, rail transportation has played a significant role in shaping this state’s history. The [...]

FRA’s Feinberg clears Senate committee


President Obama’s choice to lead the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has been approved by the Senate committee that handles transportation issues.  Obama’s nomination of Sarah Feinberg, who has been leading the FRA since January, for a full-time term atop the rail agency was approved by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on Tuesday in [...]

Right-to-work proposal introduced in Ohio


COLUMBUS, Ohio – A Cincinnati, Ohio lawmaker introduced his plan to bring a right-to-work law to Ohio despite opposition from fellow Republicans. The proposal from Rep. Tom Brinkman (R-Mount Lookout) would prohibit mandatory union membership at workplaces. The change would give employees the choice to opt out of unions and their dues. Twenty-five states have right-to-work laws, including recently passed [...]

FMCSA, FRA begin work on sleep apnea rulemaking


WASHINGTON – If left untreated, sleep apnea poses serious risks to anyone who sits behind the wheel of a commercial motor vehicle or climbs into the cab of a locomotive. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently initiated a rulemaking project to evaluate – and treat, when applicable [...]

No Railroad Retirement benefit increase in 2016


Railroad retirement annuities, like social security benefits, will not increase in January 2016 as there was no increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from the third quarter of last year to the corresponding period of the current year. Also, because there is no cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), social security law prohibits an increase in the [...]

FTA’s TRACS reports on fatigue and worker assaults


WASHINGTON – The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has recently accepted two reports from the Transit Advisory Committee for Safety (TRACS), a safety committee established by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation and compromised of transit industry stakeholders. In Establishing a Fatigue Management Program for the Bus and Rail Industry, the report identifies the major organizational and behavioral [...]