December 22, 2014

NJ Transit conductors get customer service refresher

NJ Transit train conductors with a history of being less than courteous to riders will soon receive retraining. Starting early next year, some front-line rail workers will have to take a crash course to bolster their people skills. “It’s a program that is going to help employees understand their roles as it relates to providing [...]

Four stabbed, including conductor, on Amtrak train

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Four people were stabbed, including a conductor, on an Amtrak train tonight (Dec. 5) and a suspect was taken into custody, police said. The stabbing occurred about 7 p.m. in Niles, Mich. Read the complete story at ABC News.

SMART’s CN/IC members ratify retroactive agreement

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SMART Transportation Division-represented conductors and trainmen employed by the Canadian National/Illinois Central Railroad have ratified a new six-year agreement, Vice President Dave Wier reports. The agreement provides for six annual wage increases retroactive to Aug. 1, 2010, with the final wage increase to be effective Jan. 1, 2015, totaling 18.6 percent and resulting in a [...]

RRB releases statement on 2015 tax rates

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The amounts of compensation subject to railroad retirement Tier I and Tier II payroll taxes will increase in 2015, with the Tier I tax rates remaining the same while Tier II tax rates will increase for both railroad employers and employees. Also, railroad unemployment insurance contribution rates paid by employers will include a surcharge of [...]

Large settlement upheld in case against UP

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An administrative review board decision to award North Platte resident Brian Petersen more than $300,000 in damages from Union Pacific Railroad was upheld on Nov. 20. The case dates back to August 2009 when Petersen, an apprentice machinist, was checking his work schedule in an employee parking lot late on the night of Aug. 28, [...]

Despite price drop, crude by rail remains big issue

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The drop in the price of oil since OPEC failed in its meeting last week to agree on production cuts has sparked speculation about whether production in North Dakota’s Bakken shale region will decline as some marginal drilling operations become financially less viable. Some market observers see the drop in the price of railroad stocks [...]

BLS reports steady decline in workplace injuries

WASHINGTON – Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, Dec. 4 issued the following statement on the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2013 Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses: “Today we learned that, in 2013, approximately three million private sector workers in America experienced a serious injury or illness [...]

How two billionaires are destroying high speed rail

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Eighteen years have passed since the establishment of the California High Speed Rail (CHSR) Authority. Over the course of those eighteen years, high speed rail in the state has been discussed and planned and delayed and delayed more. There have been proposals, referendums, debates, studies and budgets, but no tracks laid, no passengers queued, no [...]

Opinion: Metra engineers, conductors do a great job

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The following letter to the editor of the Chicago Sun-Times by Martin Oberman, chairman of the Metra Board of Directors, was published by the newspaper Nov. 23. It was in response to an article previously published by the newspaper that implied that Metra conductors and engineers were overpaid. The Chicago Sun-Times, without any evidence, insinuates that Metra [...]

NJT to train crews: Next stop, charm school

Some NJ Transit rail employees who deal with commuters will find themselves back in the classroom next year for a customer relations refresher. The program was prompted by issues brought up by commuters on social media and shared with NJ Transit. The two day training classes will start in early 2015. Read the complete story [...]