July 29, 2015

2 Amtrak conductors: A story of selfless bravery

Amtrak Conductors; heroes; Alvin Boguess; Boguess, Alvin; Joseph Boardman; Boardman, Joseph; Amtrak CEO; CEO

This is a story about heroes. It is a story about two UTU conductor heroes in Fallon, Nev., June 24. In utter disregard of their own safety, these UTU conductor heroes braved intense flames and choking smoke, repeatedly returning inside two burning Amtrak passenger cars to save the lives of dozens of disoriented, injured and [...]

Trucker in Amtrak crash: 9 traffic tickets since 2007

FALLON, Nev. – The truck driver who died when his tractor-trailer slammed into Amtrak’s westbound California Zephyr here June 24, had accumulated nine traffic tickets since 2007 – five for speeding in a commercial vehicle, twice for speeding in his personal automobile, once for a seat belt violation and once for illegally using a cellphone [...]

UTU member dead in Nevada Amtrak-truck crash

Laurette Lee; Lee, Laurette; Conductor

FALLON, Nev. – An Amtrak conductor was killed and an assistant conductor seriously injured here June 24 when a tractor-trailer combination rammed the side of a double-deck passenger car of Amtrak’s westbound California Zephyr in a fiery crash at a highway-rail grade crossing. The crash site is some 70 miles east of Reno. Lee Killed was [...]

Supreme Court declines to weaken FELA

WASHINGTON — In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court June 23 declined to tighten the standard of proof injured rail workers must demonstrate to win an award under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA). The ruling is a significant victory for injured rail workers. The FELA — a railroader’s most cherished workplace safety assurance — [...]

Amtrak privatization bill: ‘A rat hole worth watching’

WASHINGTON – Legislation to privatize Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, as a first step toward destruction of Amtrak, will almost certainly be dead-on-arrival in the Democratic-controlled Senate, and will face a tough challenge in the Republican-controlled House; but the authors of the bill – House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) and House Rail Subcommittee [...]

Conductor cert, passenger HOS regs on tap

Strang, Jo; Jo Strang

WASHINGTON — The Federal Railroad Administration will soon publish final rules instituting conductor certification and imposing new hours-of-service limitations on intercity passenger-train and commuter employees in safety sensitive positions. FRA Associate Administrator for Safety Jo Strang made the announcement at the UTU’s regional meeting June 21 in San Antonio, Texas. She observed that since former [...]

House Republicans launch assault on Amtrak

WASHINGTON — An assault on the future of Amtrak and its employees was launched June 15 by the chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), and the chairman of the House Rail Subcommittee, Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) The UTU and other rail labor organizations are gearing to fight this effort to [...]

Wisconsin decision will embolden extremists

MADISON, Wis. – A divided state supreme court here June 14 ruled in a 4-3 decision that the state’s controversial law revoking collective-bargaining rights for public employees may go into effect – overturning an injunction issued by a lower court. This is important to UTU members for two reasons: Political extremists in other states and [...]

Have you experienced unruly passengers?

The UTU, Amtrak and other labor organizations have designed a survey to aid in the development of training and awareness programs to assist Amtrak employees deal with unruly, disorderly or aggressive passengers. While development of this program is intended for Amtrak, all UTU members employed in passenger transportation – air, bus, rail and transit – [...]

Cubs not alone with problems in Chicago

CHICAGO — Newspapers and television and radio stations here June 14 were asking Union Pacific, “Is this any way to run a railroad?” after a shortage of UP engineers caused the cancellation of six morning Metra commuter trains and inconvenienced thousands of passengers trying to reach their jobs here. Metra pays UP to operate and [...]