November 30, 2015

SMART TD names new DLC coordinator


Designated Legal Counsel (DLC) Anthony Petru has been chosen as coordinator of the DLC Program. Petru replaces long-time DLC member and Coordinator Steve Young, who retired earlier this autumn. Petru is a long-time DLC with years of experience in the rail industry. He graduated from University of California, Berkeley, and attended law school at the [...]

Former associate DLC John Naughton dies

John J. Naughton, former associate designated legal counsel of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen and United Transportation Union, died Oct. 29, 2015. Naughton fought for the rights of railroad and other transportation workers as an employee of the former firm of Henslee, Monek & Henslee. As a part of the firm, Naughton argued before the [...]

OSHA putting teeth in rail whistle-blower law


For too many years, many railroads have tied managerial bonuses to low reportable injury rates among employees, creating a culture of fear through harassment and intimidation – a culture that discourages the reporting by workers of on-duty injuries and allows railroads to claim an industry safety award accompanied by glowing press releases as to its [...]

Conductor wins $125,000 in whistle-blower complaint

A Wisconsin Central conductor has won a whistle-blower complaint against the carrier – collecting more than $125,000 in compensatory and punitive damages – for unlawful harassment and intimidation as the result of reporting an injury. This was the third successful whistle-blower complaint filed against a railroad in recent months for violation of a worker’s rights under the [...]

Supreme Court declines to weaken FELA

WASHINGTON — In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court June 23 declined to tighten the standard of proof injured rail workers must demonstrate to win an award under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA). The ruling is a significant victory for injured rail workers. The FELA — a railroader’s most cherished workplace safety assurance — [...]

Transport-employee fatigue continues to kill

While sleep scientists have established that going to work fatigued is like going to work drunk, there remains a disconnect among those who manage transportation firms. And people are needlessly dying and being seriously injured as a result. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood June 1 criticized his own Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for not sooner [...]

Proving negligence under FELA

FELA Update By Mark Allen Coordinator of UTU Designated Legal Counsel The Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) was enacted by Congress in 1908 to give railroad employees the right, under federal law, to recover damages from their employers for injuries occurring at work. However, generally, there must be proof of negligence on the part of [...]

What are my rights if I’m injured in a hired van?

By Mark AllenCoordinator of UTU Designated Legal Counsel Railroad workers sometimes jokingly say they spend more time in vans than trains as railroads transport their workers using contract limousine services. As agents of the railroad, these companies may be held to the same legal standard as the railroad if their negligence causes injuries. It is [...]