August 30, 2015

Transportation Division sets 2016 regional meetings

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The SMART Transportation Division has set the dates and locations of the union’s two 2016 regional meetings. The western regional meeting will be held July 4-6 in San Francisco. The eastern regional meeting will be held July 25-27 in Chicago.  Cost for rooms at both locations are $169 per night. Keep checking back to this [...]

Retired N.C. State Director Dickie Westbrook dies

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Retired North Carolina State Legislative Director Richard “Dickie” Westbrook Jr., 64, died Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015. Westbrook hired out in 1973 with Norfolk Southern Railroad as a conductor and trainman in 1973 and had 39 years and seven months of service upon retirement in 2012. Soon after he hired out, Westbrook became active with Local [...]

Government agencies release transportation jobs report


Data indicates that transportation industry growth will add 417,000 skilled and semi-skilled job openings from 2012 to 2022. WASHINGTON – The U.S. Departments of Transportation, Education, and Labor today released a joint report entitled “Strengthening Skills Training and Career Pathways across the Transportation Industry.” The report details the future growth areas or employment “hot spots” in [...]

AFL-CIO: union support and numbers on the rise

Union Yes; Union check yes

WASHINGTON – Workers across the country have stood up in the past month to fight for better wages and working conditions. More Americans are backing worker efforts to speak out: According to a new Gallup poll released last week, nearly 6 in 10 Americans stated they approve of labor unions. Efforts by working people to rally [...]

Working safely with Diabetes


Diabetes has been called an epidemic in America. A 2014 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 29.1 million people in the United States – almost 10 percent of the population – have the disorder. Of those, 8.1 million are undiagnosed. The seventh leading cause of death in the nation, diabetes [...]

Both sides prepare as Mo. right-to-work battle heats up


Southwest Missouri Democrats plan a second town hall meeting to support Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of right-to-work legislation. Teresa Henry, a Democrat candidate for attorney general, will be the featured speaker at the event set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, August 26 at the IBEW Hall, 3316 S. Main St., Joplin, MO. 64804. Groups for and [...]

Oil train safety must remain a priority


MINNESOTA – Lack of action during this year’s legislative session doesn’t mean nothing’s being done regarding rail safety as oil trains keep passing through the state and region. About 3,000 firefighters and other emergency responders from 80 departments throughout the state have been trained to respond quickly to oil-train-related disasters, and the Minnesota Pollution Control [...]

Can ECP brakes stop train disasters in suburbs?


CHICAGO – As a former railroad brakeman, the region’s top planner Joe Szabo knows how to stop a train. So it’s significant he backs a controversial new federal rule requiring freight railroads to install electronic braking systems on trains carrying crude oil and ethanol. Shiploads of volatile fuel are increasing in the Chicago region with [...]

OSHA unveils high penalty map


The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has created a new webpage to identify high penalty cases in all U.S. states and territories. We hope this new resource will be helpful in your reporting on OSHA cases and initiatives. The map, which can be viewed at, lists all enforcement cases with initial [...]

Rail safety bill sent to Calif. governor


Legislation to protect communities along rail lines and railroad workers by requiring trains and light engines carrying freight within California to be operated with an adequate crew size received support from the State Assembly with a 51-28 vote. The bill, authored by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Solano, now goes to Governor Jerry Brown (D). “Today’s freight [...]