October 1, 2014

Members defeat BNSF proposal to cut train crew size

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A tentative agreement to reduce train crew size on one of the nation’s largest rail carriers has failed, according to the labor union whose members voted on it this week. The pact would have eliminated on-board conductors on 60 percent of BNSF Railway, which spans the western two-thirds of the country. Read the complete story [...]

Teen gets a look at railroad life

John Wilson, a student from Howell High School, joined two dozen teens from across the nation to spend a week riding the rails. They weren’t trying out the hobo life; they were participating in Michigan Technological University Rail and Intermodal Transportation Program, part of the university’s popular summer youth programs. Read the complete story at [...]

FRA issues proposal on unintended train movement

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that will help protect communities from crude oil and hazardous materials incidents by strengthening requirements for securing unattended freight trains. The proposed rule codifies many of the requirements included in Emergency Order 28, which the [...]

Senators move to strengthen STB

A bipartisan pair of senators is planning to introduce legislation to beef up the panel of federal regulators that is supposed to oversee operations on the nation’s freight and passenger railways. The panel, the Department of Transportation’s Surface Transportation Board (STB), has been at the center of a recent dispute between Amtrak and a Canadian [...]

Va. SLD: U.S. coal and global warming

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Pat Corp, Virginia State Legislative Director of the SMART Transportation Division, submitted the following letter to the editor of The Roanoke Times. It was published Aug. 22, 2014. Re: the July 28 article “Coal exports bypass emission rules” from the Associated Press. The article’s leanings struck me as somewhat less than pure investigative reporting. U.S. [...]

Survey of company execs: U.S. pay likely to stagnate

WASHINGTON – U.S. workers face a dim future, with stagnant or falling pay and fewer openings for full-time jobs. That’s the picture that emerges from a survey of Harvard Business School alumni. More than 40 percent of the respondents foresee lower pay and benefits for workers. Roughly half favor outsourcing work over hiring staffers. A [...]

SMART needs your photos for Alumni calendar

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The SMART Transportation Division is seeking quality railroad, bus and airline photos, taken by its members, for placement in its annual calendar and other uses. The calendar is mailed annually to members of the UTU Alumni Association as one of the benefits of Alumni Association membership. High-resolution digital photographs should be emailed to news_TD@smart-union.org. Printed photographs should [...]

12th annual rail reunion and retirement dinner info

Local 240 Chairperson Harry Garvin Jr. reports that the 12th annual rail reunion and retirement dinner for employees of UP, SP, Pacific Electric, Metrolink, Amtrak and AT&SF (Locals 32, 240, 1422, 1770, 1813 and 1846) will be held Nov. 7, from 3-9 p.m., at Sierra Lakes Golf Course, 16600 Club House Dr., in Fontana. The [...]

Minnesota boosts number of railway inspectors

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More trained eyes should be on the tracks in Minnesota in coming months, state and federal authorities say. The Minnesota Department of Transportation is hiring more rail inspectors as required by a new state law. Federal authorities also have bolstered the ranks of their rail inspectors in Minnesota. Read the complete story at the St. [...]

BNSF Railway ordered to pay $12K to worker

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – BNSF Railway Co. has been found in violation of the Federal Railroad Safety Act by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for disciplining an employee at its Murray Yard complex for following a physician’s treatment plan. The company has been ordered to pay the conductor $12,000 in [...]