April 17, 2015

Common-sense fix for truck-train crashes rejected

RALEIGH, N.C. – America’s railroads want five more years to stop train wrecks using a high-tech system costing more than $15 billion. But experts tell The Associated Press that it won’t keep trains and trucks from crashing together unless both industries use a common-sense solution available right away: actually talking with each other before crossing into [...]

Mayors call on Congress to pass transportation bill

BOSTON – Led by Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) Vice President Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, mayors pledged March 23 to work together to urge Congress to move past partisanship, including through local action and lobbying Washington, at a [...]

BNSF to begin using aerial drones with cameras

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Website Xconomy.com is reporting that BNSF Railway will begin using aerial drones equipped with cameras to “conduct regular inspections of railway infrastructure and rights of way.” According to the Federal Aviation Administration website, any operation that does not meet the statutory criteria for a public aircraft operation is considered a civil aircraft operation and must [...]

Please support benefit for SMART family member

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As an organization, we are known for digging deep into our pockets and reaching out to those less fortunate and in need when a tragedy strikes. Michigan State Legislative Director Jerry L. Gibson and his family have been dealing with a tough issue of their own and Assistant State Legislative Director Don Silseth is asking [...]

CN/GTW members ratify retroactive agreement

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SMART Transportation Division-represented conductors and trainmen employed by the Canadian National/Grand Trunk Western Railroad unanimously ratified a new six-year agreement March 17, Vice President Doyle Turner reports. The agreement provides for six annual wage increases retroactive to Aug. 1, 2010, with the final wage increase to be effective Aug. 1, 2015, totaling 18.6 percent and [...]

Two-person train crew bill advances in Minn. Senate

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The Minnesota Senate Committee on Transportation and Public Safety and the Senate Committee on Judiciary have approved legislation requiring two qualified train-crew personnel on all trains in the state with bipartisan support. Senate File 918 is now before the full Minnesota Senate. “The policy language is very narrow to assure that we can prevail under [...]

Sen. Franken asks FRA to reroute Minn. oil trains

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WASHINGTON – Last week, U.S. Sen. Al Franken asked the Federal Railroad Administration to consider rerouting trains carrying volatile Bakken crude oil from North Dakota so they do not pass through Minnesota’s biggest cities. For Franken, the possibility of rerouting is an integral part of a comprehensive response to a recent rash of fiery oil [...]

Previsich: ‘It’s your union and it’s your future’

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By John Previsich, SMART Transportation Division President –  Today, people who work in a unionized environment are facing challenges unlike any that have come before. The current political climate is fostering attacks not only on organized labor, but also on the rights and entitlements of workers in every industry. From “right to work for less” bills [...]

Ga. SLD testifies on EPA Clean Power Plan

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ATLANTA – The House Natural Resources Committee voted without opposition Thursday to a resolution urging the federal Environmental Protection Division to make its Clean Power Plan less stringent for Georgia. Business and labor groups warned the plan would result in higher electricity rates and fewer jobs while environmental groups said compliance would trigger creation of [...]

BNSF faces penalty on hazmat spill reporting rules

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OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington state rail safety regulators March 19 recommended BNSF Railway Company be penalized for failing to timely report multiple hazardous material spills along state railways. The Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) issued the formal complaint following a staff investigation into BNSF’s failure to report 14 releases of various hazardous materials, including crude [...]