September 2, 2014

All five NLRB members confirmed by Senate

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week marked the first time in a decade in which all five National Labor Relations Board members were confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Aug. 21, 2003, was the last time the board was fully staffed, according to a NLRB news release. But perhaps the most recent case of the panel operating [...]

PTC extension introduced by committee

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation introduced a positive train control (PTC) extension bill. The bill seeks to extend the statutory deadline for PTC implementation by five years to Dec. 31, 2020, as well as provide another optional two-year extension on 60,000 miles of track across the country. Shortline railroads that operate [...]

Emergency RSAC meeting announced

The Federal Railroad Administration announced Aug. 8 that it would hold an emergency meeting of the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) Aug. 29. The meeting will focus on the July 6 train derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. Preliminary findings from the derailment and safety procedures that may not have been followed will be discussed. RSAC was [...]

Szabo: ‘Rail is the transportation mode of opportunity’

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On July 30, Federal Railroad Administrator Joe Szabo addressed attendees of the SMART Transportation Division’s regional meeting in Anaheim, Calif., speaking about future endeavors the FRA has for the rail industry and about safety enhancements moving forward. “Rail is the transportation mode of opportunity, and we have to ensure continuous safety improvements, building upon the safest [...]

Single-person train crew operations must be stopped

Mike Futhey

By Mike Futhey, SMART Transportation Division President –  The events that unfolded July 6 in the Canadian province of Quebec, where a runaway train exploded and killed 47 people in the city of Lac-Megantic, weigh on the minds of an assortment of people whose lives were touched, directly or indirectly. On that grizzly evening, a dark [...]

FRA issues emergency order on train car movement

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) August 2 issued an emergency order and safety advisory to help prevent trains operating on mainline tracks or sidings from moving unintentionally. The FRA’s announcement was made in response to the July 6, 2013, derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, Canada, as it awaits additional data [...]

Operating unions advance federal crew-size legislation

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CLEVELAND — The Transportation Division of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation International Association (SMART) and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET/IBT) have jointly announced that legislation requiring at least two crew members on all freight trains in the U.S. has been filed in Congress. Initial sponsors for H.R. 3040 are U.S. [...]

Canada bans one-man crews on hazmat trains

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OTTAWA — Transport Canada July 23 announced an emergency directive pursuant to section 33 of the Railway Safety Act to increase rail safety, banning one-man crews on trains hauling one or more cars loaded with hazardous materials. Although the cause of the accident in Lac-Mégantic remains unknown at this time, Transport Canada is moving forward to [...]

Senate confirms Tom Perez for Labor secretary

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The Senate confirmed Tom Perez as Labor secretary on a 54-46 party-line vote July 18, making him the second of President Barack Obama’s nominees to win confirmation this week following a deal to preserve the filibuster. Perez won cloture Wednesday on a 60-40 vote, with six Republicans joining 52 Democrats and two independents. His confirmation [...]

Win trip to Washington through UTU PAC contest

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The SMART Transportation Division’s Legislative Office in Washington has announced a contest for SMART TD members, with a three-day, two-night, all-expenses-paid trip to our nation’s capital as the grand prize. The SMART TD member who raises and returns the largest amount of UTU PAC fund contributions between July 1 and Labor Day (Sept. 2) will [...]