November 23, 2014

SOFA warns of winter-related safety issues

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The upcoming months are historically the most deadly time of year for railroad workers, with more career-ending injuries than any other period of the year. In February 1998, a Switching Operations Fatalities Analysis (SOFA) working group, with representatives from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), labor and management, was formed at the request of the FRA [...]

SMART Constitution available online, officers elevated

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The official SMART Constitution, as amended by SMART delegates at the first SMART General Convention, is now available on both the SMART website at www.smart-union.org and the Transportation Division website at www.utu.org. In January 2014, the SMART Sheet Metal and Transportation Division officers completed constitutional modifications required by the terms and conditions of the merger [...]

Former Local 911 Chairperson Fred Croes Jr. dies

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Retired former Local 911 (Minneapolis) Chairperson Fred J. Croes Jr., 78, a mentor to many United Transportation Union and SMART Transportation Division officers in the Upper Midwest, died Nov. 12 of natural causes. Croes was born May 18, 1936, in St. Paul, Minn. At age 18, he joined the former UTU predecessor Brotherhood of Railroad [...]

N.D. considers rules to make oil by rail safer

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North Dakota’s energy regulators are considering new rules to make the state’s “Bakken” crude oil, which has been involved in a number of explosive train crashes, safer to move by rail. Proposed standards announced Thursday by the state Department of Mineral Resources follow a series of fiery rail accidents over the last 18 months that [...]

Low on coal, utilities ask regulators to prod rails

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WASHINGTON – Ongoing rail service problems have left power plants from Minnesota to Texas low on coal as an early blast of winter weather hit the nation’s midsection this week. Some fear the stage has been set for a repeat of last winter, when heavy snowfall and subzero temperatures crippled rail operations in the Upper [...]

Ill. SLD Guy’s letter supporting Amtrak published

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SMART Transportation Division’s Illinois State Legislative Director Bob Guy responded to a “letter to the editor” published in the Nov. 5 issue of the The News-Gazette and Guy’s letter was published by the newspaper Nov. 13. The original letter by Corrine Ann Williams of the Heritage Foundation was a call to stop increased funding for [...]

Union leaders vow push for infrastructure solutions

Transportation union leaders vowed to “redouble their efforts” to push for bipartisan solutions to the growing transportation infrastructure investment crisis that is undermining the economy and idling millions of jobs, said AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department President Edward Wytkind following the 2014 Fall TTD Executive Committee meeting Nov. 13. “We had an important conversation today about [...]

Obama to renominate Elliott for STB

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President Barack Obama announced his intent Nov. 12 to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts: Daniel Elliott III – member, Surface Transportation Board, and upon appointment to be designated chairman; Lauren McFerran – member, National Labor Relations Board. “I am confident that these experienced and hardworking individuals will help us tackle the important [...]

Changes made to SMART Discipline Income plan

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SMART Discipline Income Protection Program has not increased its monthly assessment rates in six years. During that period, the amount that the DIPP plan disbursed in benefits has greatly exceeded the amount that it collected in premiums. Since DIPP cannot continue to operate effectively at a deficit, the program’s trustees have increased the monthly assessment by [...]

Wash. SLD Krohn appears on PBS coal show

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SMART Transportation Division Washington State Legislative Director Herb Krohn Nov. 7 appeared on Northwest Now, a Public Broadcasting System program that airs in Washington on Television Station KBTC. Northwest Now is an Emmy®-award winning weekly public affairs show that goes beyond the headlines to provide perspective on the issues that have western Washington talking. In this episode, [...]