September 22, 2014

Class I employment grows during August

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The U.S. Class I workforce continued to grow last month. As of mid-August, the large railroads employed 167,988 people, up 0.5 percent from July’s level and 2.8 percent from August 2013′s mark, according to Surface Transportation Board employment data. On a month-over-month basis, the maintenance-of-way and structures workforce was relatively flat at 37,329 (down less [...]

Newspaper reports on SMART TD’s Risch

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One Bismarck man has ridden the rails from shoveling rock and swinging a spike mallet in the railyard to top official of the country’s largest railway employee union. John Risch has been elected national legislative director of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers. His five-year term starts Oct. 1. Read [...]

BNSF: Keystone pipeline won’t dent crude by rail

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One of the top executives at the nation’s leading hauler of crude oil in trains said Friday that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline wouldn’t take away any of his company’s business. Matt Rose, the executive chairman of BNSF Railway, told Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo that the controversial pipeline project would move primarily heavy crude [...]

James Stem: ‘The times…they are a changing’

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As I prepare for retirement, there are many things on my mind about the future of our industry and transportation workers that I have had the honor to represent during my career. The most important item on my agenda today, and every day during the past 31 years that I have been a legislative officer, [...]

Senate panel approves freight rail oversight changes

The Senate committee that deals with transportation issues approved a bill to beef up the panel of federal regulators that is supposed to oversee operations on the nation’s freight and passenger railways. The measure, which was approved unanimously on Wednesday by the Senate Commerce Committee, emboldens the Department of Transportation’s Surface Transportation Board (STB) to [...]

House panel approves Amtrak budget cut

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A bill that would cut Amtrak’s authorization for new construction spending by 40 percent was unanimously approved Wednesday by the House Transportation Committee. The measure, which was passed on a voice vote with little debate, would reduce Amtrak’s authorized spending level for new construction from approximately $1.3 billion per year under the last Amtrak funding [...]

OSHA announces new injury-reporting requirements

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced a final rule requiring employers to notify OSHA when an employee is killed on the job or suffers a work-related hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye. The rule, which also updates the list of employers partially exempt from OSHA record-keeping [...]

Nevada truck firm could pay $5.5M+ in Amtrak crash

RENO, Nev. – A Nevada trucking company could be forced to pay more than $5.7 million if a judge formalizes a jury verdict that faulted one of its drivers for a fiery 2011 crash with an Amtrak train that killed six people and injured dozens. A federal jury in Reno awarded $4.5 million to Amtrak [...]

Tribute to late John Denver takes ‘country boy’ home

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For conductor and Norfolk Southern GO 680 Vice General Chairperson Robert C. “Bubba” Chandler III, the rhythm of the rails is in his bones. Long before he began riding the rails, the rhythm of the music was in his soul. A self-taught six-string guitar picker for more than 35 years, Chandler is an accomplished professional [...]

Treasurers’ workshop scheduled for October

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The SMART Transportation Division is conducting a local treasurers’ workshop at the Hampton Inn & Suites Atlanta Airport North Oct. 6-8, 2014. Attendance is limited to 25 registrants. Those interested in attending the workshop should contact the office of the SMART Transportation Division Updating/Auditing department. Call (216) 228-9400, or email Karen Cashin at kcashin@smart-union.org. While [...]