December 20, 2014

Spending bill provisions for Amtrak, railroads

According to The Washington Post, a $1.01 trillion spending bill that will keep most of the federal government funded through September retains Amtrak’s current funding of $1.39 billion, the same amount it currently receives. It also provides $3 million to expand inspections along the roughly 14,000 miles of track used by trains hauling oil tankers. To view the [...]

Conductor plays Santa online in your home

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Now that the holiday season is upon us, we can expect that Santa Claus is very busy. So much so, that he has given in to the digital age by making himself available online. Our Santa – and there really is only one true Santa – is none other than BNSF Railway conductor and SMART [...]

Early rail retiree insurance cap rises in 2015

SMART Transportation Division members and their dependents insured under the Railroad Employees National Early Retirement Major Medical Benefit (ERMA) Plan (GA-46000) will have their lifetime maximum amount of coverage increased, effective Jan. 1. ERMA is a comprehensive benefits plan for employees who retire at or after age 60 with 30 years of service. The plan [...]

Collection boxes set up for stabbed Amtrak conductor

Collection boxes have been set up at Chicago’s Union Station to accept donations to assist Amtrak conductor and SMART Transportation Division member Dontreal “Donnie” Bankhead and his family, according to Illinois State Legislative Director Robert Guy. Bankhead, 40, a member of Local 168 at Chicago, was seriously injured while performing his duties aboard Amtrak Train [...]

Amtrak stabbing suspect: Had to fight a demon

NILES, Mich. – The man accused of stabbing four people on an Amtrak train told police that it started after a man he was talking to on the train “turned into a demon and he had to fight them,” according to court documents obtained by 24 Hour News 8. “Michael Williams said he did not [...]

Court questions Amtrak’s role in setting standards

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court appeared divided Monday as it considered whether Amtrak, the government-owned passenger rail company, wields too much clout in setting regulations that private freight carriers also must follow. The nine justices heard arguments in a challenge by the Association of American Railroads to a federal law that gives Amtrak, a [...]

Keep flying, DOT tells Great Lakes

KEARNEY — The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued an order to Great Lakes Airlines to extend its service at Kearney Regional Airport while Kearney waits for federal approval of the airline to replace Great Lakes. The order, issued Wednesday, also sets temporary rates for Great Lakes to continue providing Essential Air Service at the [...]

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 [...]