December 18, 2014

RRB releases statement on 2015 tax rates

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The amounts of compensation subject to railroad retirement Tier I and Tier II payroll taxes will increase in 2015, with the Tier I tax rates remaining the same while Tier II tax rates will increase for both railroad employers and employees. Also, railroad unemployment insurance contribution rates paid by employers will include a surcharge of [...]

Large settlement upheld in case against UP

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An administrative review board decision to award North Platte resident Brian Petersen more than $300,000 in damages from Union Pacific Railroad was upheld on Nov. 20. The case dates back to August 2009 when Petersen, an apprentice machinist, was checking his work schedule in an employee parking lot late on the night of Aug. 28, [...]

Despite price drop, crude by rail remains big issue

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The drop in the price of oil since OPEC failed in its meeting last week to agree on production cuts has sparked speculation about whether production in North Dakota’s Bakken shale region will decline as some marginal drilling operations become financially less viable. Some market observers see the drop in the price of railroad stocks [...]

BLS reports steady decline in workplace injuries

WASHINGTON – Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, Dec. 4 issued the following statement on the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2013 Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses: “Today we learned that, in 2013, approximately three million private sector workers in America experienced a serious injury or illness [...]

How two billionaires are destroying high speed rail

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Eighteen years have passed since the establishment of the California High Speed Rail (CHSR) Authority. Over the course of those eighteen years, high speed rail in the state has been discussed and planned and delayed and delayed more. There have been proposals, referendums, debates, studies and budgets, but no tracks laid, no passengers queued, no [...]

Opinion: Metra engineers, conductors do a great job

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The following letter to the editor of the Chicago Sun-Times by Martin Oberman, chairman of the Metra Board of Directors, was published by the newspaper Nov. 23. It was in response to an article previously published by the newspaper that implied that Metra conductors and engineers were overpaid. The Chicago Sun-Times, without any evidence, insinuates that Metra [...]

NJT to train crews: Next stop, charm school

Some NJ Transit rail employees who deal with commuters will find themselves back in the classroom next year for a customer relations refresher. The program was prompted by issues brought up by commuters on social media and shared with NJ Transit. The two day training classes will start in early 2015. Read the complete story [...]

Crude-by-rail safety reports released in N.Y., Wash.

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The Washington Department of Ecology on Monday delivered a report to state legislators outlining key recommendations to improve public safety in response to the rapid increase of crude-by-rail shipments through the state. The Washington Legislature requested the study due to recent changes in how crude is transported through rail corridors and waterways. The “Marine and [...]

Opinion: Nice things happen on trains

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Imagine you’re in charge of a company that serves the public good; imagine your company, unlike others in the same business, has to ask for money every year to keep itself, an arterial of the country’s transportation system, running. Imagine that fracking, another part of America’s “essential business,” is gumming up your works. Imagine that [...]

Thank you for your support, I am here to assist you

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To each and every delegate of the SMART Transportation Division, I would like to thank you for electing me to the position of vice president of SMART’s bus department. My request to all SMART members is to please work with all of your newly elected officers at all levels of the organization. Keep all of [...]