January 30, 2015

Q&As regarding Railroad Retirement spouse benefits

In addition to the retirement annuities payable to employees, the Railroad Retirement Act, like the Social Security Act, also provides annuities for the spouses of retired employees. Payment of a spouse annuity is made directly to the wife or husband of the employee. Divorced spouses may also qualify for benefits. The following questions and answers [...]

A new year can mean a new you with Medicare

The start of a new year is the time for resolutions. Railroad retirees covered under Medicare can receive the help they need in making some of their resolutions a reality. According to USA.gov, the top three New Year’s resolutions are: Lose Weight Volunteer Quit Smoking The year 2015 can be a year of change with [...]

BNSF announces plans to expand capacity

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BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) Jan. 15 announced more details about the major capital projects it plans to complete in 2015 to maintain and grow its rail network. In BNSF’s North Region, the company will invest approximately $1.5 billion across eight states for engineering maintenance and line expansion projects, of which approximately $700 million* is planned [...]

In remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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SMART shares with the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. the dream that men and women should be judged not by the color of their skin, their nationality or religious beliefs, but by the content of their character. Below is the text of Dr. King’s speech, delivered on Aug. 28, 1963, from the steps of [...]

Union Plus scholarship deadline Jan. 31

The Union Plus Scholarship Program is once again offering up scholarships ranging from $500 to $4,000 to help union members and their children attend college. These one-time cash awards are for study beginning in the Fall each year and students may re-apply every year that they are enrolled in school. The deadline to apply for [...]

Treasurers’ workshop scheduled for Feb. 23-25

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The SMART Transportation Division is conducting a second local treasurers’ workshop at its headquarters in North Olmsted, Ohio, Feb. 23-25. The treasurers’ workshop scheduled for Feb. 18-20 is full. Attendance is limited to 25 registrants. If demand for the workshop is high, another workshop will be scheduled shortly after. Those interested in attending the workshop should [...]

Businessman offers to buy New Orleans Public Belt

A prominent local businessman has offered to buy the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad. In a statement released Wednesday morning, Thomas B. Coleman, a New Orleans native and former CEO of International-Matex Tank Terminals, said he wants to buy the Public Belt to spur the local economy and ensure the railroad remains locally owned. Read [...]

At least 10 killed when prison bus hits train in Texas

PENWELL, Texas – At least 10 people were killed Wednesday when a bus carrying state prisoners skidded off an icy highway overpass in West Texas, slid down an embankment and collided with a passing train, a county sheriff said. The overpass on Interstate 20 was slick with ice Wednesday morning when the Texas Department of [...]

NTSB increases pressure for automatic train braking

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The National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday issued its annual tally of Most Wanted Transportation Safety Improvements, adding to the list for the first time the issue of the safety of railroad tank cars carrying crude oil and ethanol. The safety board also urged the railroad industry to adopt a technology known as “Positive Train [...]

AFL-CIO offers union skills training program

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The AFL-CIO Bonnie Ladin Union Skills (BLUS) Training Program offers weeklong intensive courses for union leaders, staff and activists that combine in-class instruction with discussions of real-world experiences shared by a diverse group of students. The main training areas include: Union administration; Collective bargaining (private and public sector); Organizing (internal and external); Arbitration and grievance [...]