April 17, 2014

Two crew members injured in BNSF rear-ender

GREAT FALLS, Mont. — Two unidentified BNSF crewmembers – a conductor and engineer — were injured near here July 19 when their 110-car train, with three locomotives, ran into the rear of a stationary and unoccupied maintenance train, reports the Associated Press. The injuries were said not to be life-threatening. The freight train was enroute [...]

BNSF, UP target of price-fixing lawsuit

A mining and natural resources company, Oxbow Carbon and Minerals, has filed an antitrust suit against BNSF and Union Pacific, alleging the railroads have illegally fixed freight rates, in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, “to gouge customers.” Oxbow mines and ships coal and petroleum coke. The lawsuit, before the federal District Court for the [...]

CSX wreck claims 2; member loses limbs on BNSF

MINERAL SPRINGS, N.C. — CSX conductor Phillip E. Crawford Jr., 33, and locomotive engineer James Gregory Hadden, 36, were killed early May 24 in a rear-end collision here involving two CSX freight trains, according to news reports. Mineral Springs is some 30 miles south of Charlotte. Crawford was a member of UTU Local 970, Abbeville, [...]

OSHA follows through on whistle-blower complaints

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. — A Union Pacific machinist here was ordered rehired with back pay in a ruling by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) that found Union Pacific violated the worker’s rights under the Federal Rail Safety Act of 2007. OSHA ruled that in firing the machinist, after he had reported a work-related [...]

Funds created for victims of Kelso collision

A memorial fund has been established for the three killed in a collision between a shuttle-van and freight train in Kelso, Wash., March 23. A second fund was established to assist a UTU-member and conductor critically injured in the accident. Killed in the collision at a private highway-rail grade-crossing were BNSF conductor-trainee Christopher Loehr, 28; [...]

Obama taps BNSF CEO, AFL-CIO president

WASHINGTON — President Obama Feb. 23 named BNSF CEO Matt Rose, AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka and United Food and Commercial Workers’ Secretary-Treasurer Joseph Hansen to the White House Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. The three join a long list of mostly business executives and bankers on the council. Its task is to recommend ways to [...]

UTU members approve Nebraska Central pact

UTU Local 367 represented employees of Nebraska Central Railroad, which includes all crafts, have ratified a wage, rules and working conditions agreement with an 80 percent plurality. The five-year agreement provides for a signing bonus, wage increases, a minimum-hours guarantee and improved working conditions. Assisting Local 367 in the negotiations were UTU International Vice President John [...]

Railroads 2010: How sweet it was

How did major railroads perform in 2010? Reviewing their calendar-year and fourth-quarter profit statements, one wouldn’t know they were operating in the midst of a nationwide recession. Profits soared, stock dividends were raised and operating ratios improved. (Operating ratio — a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue — is considered by [...]

OSHA puts its own ‘hickory stick’ to BNSF

A UTU member will be collecting more than $95,000 in penalties assessed against BNSF by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) for the railroad’s violation of the Federal Rail Safety Act. OSHA found BNSF guilty of intimidating and harassing an injured UTU member who reported his workplace injury to the Federal Railroad Administration. The [...]

UTU to FRA: ‘Say no’ to Mexican safety checks

First it was Union Pacific wanting to have its trains inspected in Mexico. Now BNSF is making the same plea to the FRA — and as the UTU and other rail unions did in the case of UP — the FRA is being advised to, “just say no.” Putting safety first cannot co-exist with farming out [...]