October 31, 2014

Virginia SLD Walter Yeatts dead at 51

Yeatts_Walter

UTU Virginia State Legislative Director Walter W. Yeatts (UTU Local 971, Crewe, Va.) died unexpectedly Sunday, May 20. He had celebrated his 51st birthday May 12 and was a UTU member for more than 30 years, including service on Norfolk Southern and predecessor Norfolk & Western Railway. He is survived by his wife, Hardy; sons [...]

Conservatives pressing attack on working families

U.S. Capitol Building; Capitol Building; Washington D.C.

Public transportation funding, transportation jobs, workplace safety, Railroad Retirement and Medicare are under a mean-spirited and sustained attack by congressional conservatives who are trying to muscle their agenda through Congress prior to the November elections. The UTU and Sheet Metal Workers International Association – now combined into the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) – [...]

Metrolink leading way installing PTC

Metrolink _Train_Only v2

Positive train control (PTC) is modern technology to reduce train accidents, save lives and limbs, improve on-time performance and produce revenue-enhancing business benefits for railroads. PTC utilizes the satellite global positioning system (GPS), wireless communications and central control centers to monitor trains and prevent collisions by automatically applying the brakes on trains exceeding authorized speeds, [...]

Lullaby and goodnight — if only …

fatigue_web

UTU members hearing about a National Sleep Foundation study just released might be tempted to roll their eyes and ask – depending on craft – “Does ballast contain rip-rap? Do buses have headlights? Do airplanes have wings?” Yet, sometimes, what is as obvious to transportation workers as closed eyelids on a fellow employee isn’t so [...]

FRA proposes new minimum training standards

FRA logo

WASHINGTON – New minimum training and qualification standards are being proposed by the Federal Railroad Administration for rail workers in safety sensitive positions. In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking published Feb. 7 in the Federal Register, the FRA said affected employees would have to be trained and qualified in federal rail safety laws, regulations and [...]

Conductor certification now a reality

conductor_on_hopper

WASHINGTON – It’s now official. Conductor certification, mandated by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, became effective Jan. 1. In a final rule, published by the Federal Railroad Administration Nov. 9, railroads were ordered to implement, by Jan. 1, a formal training program for certifying conductors and a formal process for training prospective conductors, thus [...]

Congress and the road ahead

Stem

By James StemUTU National Legislative Director Congress is back from its August recess and eyes are focused on the “Super Committee” of House and Senate members charged with finding $1.5 trillion in budget cuts over the next 10 years. Should that committee fail to agree — and that is likely — there is an automatic [...]

Against odds, labor sends loud message in Wisconsin

A coalition of labor unions and community groups didn’t take back the Wisconsin state senate from anti-union extremists Tuesday night, Aug. 9, but voters enraged over the extremists’ political agenda did unseat two of the six senators targeted for recall. “Seeing that we were outspent three-to-one, that recall elections are rare in American politics and that [...]

UTU working to improve Rail Safety Act

By James Stem, UTU National Legislative Director The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA) was not all that rail labor wanted in a safety bill, but it was a good start, and contains much of what we have long sought. Work still needs to be done, including an end to limbo time, advance notice [...]

Tie stimulus funding to rail jobs

WASHINGTON — Any federal funds flowing to freight railroads as part of a stimulus package, or investment tax credit or loans should be accompanied by a requirement that the railroads not use the money for technology that eliminates jobs. That was the principal message Jan. 28 of the UTU to the House Rail Subcommittee, which [...]