July 24, 2014

Older rail tank cars may be phased out

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The oil industry and the railroads that haul its crude have offered U.S. regulators a joint plan to phase out a type of older tank car tied to a spate of fiery accidents, according to two people familiar with the proposal. The plan also calls for slightly thicker walls for new cars to make them [...]

Local 1701, city at odds over pension pay

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MONTEBELLO, Calif. – The city and its transit union are at odds over who pays for the employees’ share of pension costs. During the last year the city has paid its nontransit employees’ share of their pension costs but not for bus drivers, mechanics and service operators. The latter still pay what amounts to 8 [...]

Influence game: Shaping railroad safety rules

WASHINGTON – A string of fiery train derailments across the country has triggered a high-stakes but behind-the-scenes campaign to shape how the government responds to calls for tighter safety rules. Billions of dollars are riding on how these rules are written, and lobbyists from the railroads, tank car manufacturers and the oil, ethanol and chemical [...]

Annual San Luis Obispo/UP barbecue is Aug. 2

The San Luis Obispo Annual Union Pacific Railroad Barbecue will be held Saturday, August 2, at 1 p.m. at Cuesta Park, located at 2400 Loomis St. This barbecue is a joint event sponsored by UP, SMART Transportation Division Local 98 at San Luis Obispo and SMART Transportation Local 240 at Los Angeles. All current, former and [...]

FRA’s Szabo addresses SMART Convention delegates

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Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo spoke to attendees at the First Transportation Division Convention of the International Association of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers in San Diego, Calif., July 1, 2014. His speech, as prepared, is below. Good morning, everyone. It is great to be here with you today. I am [...]

Mo. Supreme Court rules FELA awards not taxable

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In cases brought by the law firm of Schlichter, Bogard & Denton, LLP of St. Louis on behalf of injured railroad workers, two courts have ruled favorably to workers that FELA judgments are not subject to tax withholding under the Railroad Retirement Tax Act (RRTA). The Missouri Supreme Court in Mickey v. BNSF Railway Co., [...]

Bay Line Railroad workers say SMART Transportation

Employees of Bay Line Railroad based in Panama City, Fla., voted July 2 for representation by the SMART Transportation Division, Organizer Rich Ross reports. Of 17 eligible voters, 10 voted for SMART while three voted for no union. “I thank CSX and Norfolk Southern new-hire class instructor Justin Humphries and Local 1291 Chairperson Jacob Lane [...]

Cuomo: LIRR strike is ‘just not an option’

A potential strike by the unions representing Long Island Rail Road workers would be a “terrible failure by both the unions and the MTA,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement Wednesday. MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast was in Washington on Wednesday to meet with the state’s congressional delegation assessing the chances of Congress intervening and [...]

SMART announces convention deadlines

International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers General Secretary-Treasurer Joseph Sellers has announced the following important deadlines for the union’s First SMART General Convention Aug. 11-15 in Las Vegas. Duplicate credentials must be mailed to the office of the general secretary-treasurer at 1750 New York Ave., Washington, DC 20006 no later than [...]

U.S. carload traffic hits 6-year high in June

In June, U.S. Class Is originated 1,177,655 carloads, up 3.6 percent compared with June 2013′s total, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR). U.S. carloads averaged 294,414 per week – the highest weekly average for a June since 2008, AAR officials said in a press release. Monthly carload growth averaged 4.9 percent from March [...]