August 30, 2015

Rail conductor, engineer discuss train safety

Qualy

MPR news interviewed Vice General Chairperson of Union Pacific GO 225 Randy Raskin and Minnesota State Legislative Director Phil Qualy, both of Local 650 (Minneapolis), during an ongoing series of conversations about rail safety in Minnesota. MPR News’ Tom Weber interviewed Raskin and Qualy for their expertise on trains from the inside out. They talked about [...]

Train-crew bill passes Minn. Senate committees

Minnesota_map

A bill that would require two-person crews aboard Amtrak and most freight trains operating in Minnesota passed out of two Senate committees last week. The safety measure is a top legislative priority of theUnited Transportation Union, which represents about 70,000 workers in North America. Sen. Ann Rest (DFL-New Hope) introduced the legislation in the Senate, [...]

Two-person train crew bill advances in Minn. Senate

Minnesota_map

The Minnesota Senate Committee on Transportation and Public Safety and the Senate Committee on Judiciary have approved legislation requiring two qualified train-crew personnel on all trains in the state with bipartisan support. Senate File 918 is now before the full Minnesota Senate. “The policy language is very narrow to assure that we can prevail under [...]

Sen. Franken asks FRA to reroute Minn. oil trains

oil-train-rail

WASHINGTON – Last week, U.S. Sen. Al Franken asked the Federal Railroad Administration to consider rerouting trains carrying volatile Bakken crude oil from North Dakota so they do not pass through Minnesota’s biggest cities. For Franken, the possibility of rerouting is an integral part of a comprehensive response to a recent rash of fiery oil [...]

Two-person rail crew bills introduced in Minnesota

Minnesota_map

Two Minnesota lawmakers have introduced legislation in the state’s legislature that would require two persons on all Class I and II carrier freight trains operating in the state. State Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Dist. 61A) and State Sen. Ann H. Rest (DFL-Dist. 45) introduced H.F. 1166 and S.F. 918 introduced last month in the Minnesota House [...]

Report: Hazardous chemicals not on trains’ cargo lists

oil-train-rail

At least 18 times in the past three years BNSF Railway freight trains rolled west out of Minneapolis pulling cars filled with hazardous chemicals that were not on the train’s official cargo list, according to train crew complaints. That’s contrary to federal regulation because in case of an accident, local firefighters can be left in [...]

Minnesota boosts number of railway inspectors

safety_sign

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. [...]

Minnesota members help defeat anti-labor bill

phil_qualy

With the adjournment of the 2012 Minnesota legislative session, the Minnesota AFL-CIO, along with the UTU and other AFL-CIO member organizations, has succeeded in defending against right-to-work (for less) legislation introduced by Tea Party Republicans. “The AFL-CIO lobbying team held every Democratic Farm Labor Party legislator in support of a Working Family Agenda that included [...]

Rail, transit and bus together in St. Paul

Decades ago, the chairman of New York Central Railroad complained that while freight could move cross country without being transferred from one boxcar to another, transcontinental passengers often had to change trains in Chicago. Even today, on Amtrak, passengers must change trains in Chicago. A similar complaint is heard regarding intermodal passenger transportation — the separation [...]