December 21, 2014

OSHA reiterates zero tolerance for worker retaliation

Here we go again – or should we say, again and again and again and again. This time it is Canadian National’s Illinois Central Railroad and short line Chicago, Ft. Wayne & Eastern Railroad that have been hit with more than $650,000 in sanctions by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for [...]

FRA, OSHA to coordinate safety complaints

OSHA logo; OSHA

Following almost 1,000 complaints from rail workers that they were improperly disciplined for reporting injuries or unsafe working conditions, the Federal Railroad Administration and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have forged an alliance to bring more pressure on railroads to stop the pattern of harassment and intimidation. “The safety of railroad employees depends on [...]

What part of ‘no’ can’t railroads understand?

OSHA logo; OSHA

Sadly, there is a part of “no” that railroads just can’t understand. So, once again, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has hit a railroad in the wallet for violating an employee’s rights as protected under the Federal Railroad Safety Act of 1970, which was supplemented by the Rail Safety Improvement Act [...]

Senate bill would cut track miles for PTC

WASHINGTON — The senior Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee, Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, introduced legislation Feb. 8 to reduce the rail route miles over which positive train control (PTC) must be implemented before January 2016. Senate co-sponsors include John Thune (R-S.D.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). The Rail Safety Improvement Act [...]

Worker input crucial to reducing rail risks

If a congressionally ordered railroad risk reduction program is to be effective, the Federal Railroad Administration must include railroad employees and their labor unions in the process of evaluating and managing the program. That is the message seven rail labor organizations sent to the FRA Feb. 8 in response to an earlier FRA notice of [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

UTU, BLET challenge HOS interpretations

The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 made the first significant amendments to hours-of-service laws in nearly 40 years. In response, the FRA issued an interim statement of agency policy and interpretation, which poses significant problems for train- and engine-service employees with regard to employee safety and earnings. The UTU and the BLET now have [...]

We are a union on the move

By UTU International President Mike Futhey We are a union on the move, growing stronger financially and adding new members through aggressive organizing. In addition to organizing 300 pilots and flight attendants at Great Lakes Airlines recently, we have authorization cards from a majority of the 110 pilots at Lynx Aviation. We are talking with [...]

UTU, BLE comment to FRA on HOS

In a joint submission aimed at improving safety and the security of member paychecks, the UTU and Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen have asked the Federal Railroad Administration to clarify and simplify its interim policies relating to, and interpretations of, the Rail Safety Improvement Act’s changes to hours-of-service limitations that went into effect July [...]