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‘Workers Know the Truth’ About the Derailment Disaster – Why Are They Being Ignored?

By Admin

Reported by Bob Hennelly for Work-Bites.Com.

Throughout the recent hazardous chemical freight train derailment in Ohio and the four-day ordeal that followed while the flaming wreck was stabilized, the one perspective that was consistently missing from the reporting was that of the union railroad workers. It didn’t matter if it was the New York Times, the Washington Post, or the Associated Press , the reporting relied on interviews with local, state and federal officials as well as statements from the Norfolk Southern, the rail carrier but not the perspective of their union workers.

It was as if robots and AI were already driving the train. The entire narrative of the cataclysm was framed by officials and the corporation whose malfunctioning train was now putting workers and the community in life-threatening jeopardy. The derailment played out in the rural borderland of Ohio and Pennsylvania requiring both states to activate an emergency evacuation response.

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Sanders to Join Rail Workers in Fresh Demand for Paid Sick Leave

By Admin

Reported by Jake Johnson for Common Dreams.

Sen. Bernie Sanders announced Tuesday that he will join rail workers later this week to launch a fresh push for at least seven days of paid sick leave, an effort that comes months after Congress and the Biden White House forced workers to accept a contract without a single paid sick day to avert a potential strike.

Joining Sanders (I-Vt.) and rail union representatives at the Thursday press conference in Washington, D.C. will be Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), one of the handful of Republican senators who voted for Sanders’ amendment to add a week of paid sick leave to the White House-brokered contract deal.

The Vermont senator’s amendment ultimately fell seven votes short of the 60 needed to overcome the Senate filibuster.

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In a first, some CSX railroad workers to get paid sick leave

By Admin

Reported by Josh Funk for AP News.

Several thousand workers at CSX will soon get one of the things that pushed the U.S. railroad industry to the brink of a strike last fall: paid sick time.

CSX announced a deal Tuesday with two of its 12 unions, becoming the first major railroad to offer that benefit that most U.S. workers take for granted.

About 4,000 track-maintenance workers in the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division union and another 1,000 mechanical workers in the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen union will get four days of paid sick leave as part of the agreements. The workers will also be able to convert three of their personal leave days into sick-leave days.

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Rail unions adopt resolution calling for paid sick leave

By Admin

Reported by Progressive Railroading.

Twelve rail labor unions late last week adopted a resolution that calls for the nation’s freight railroads to give all railroad workers paid sick leave.

The resolution claims that the majority of rail workers don’t have paid sick leave and are all subject to discipline for work absences due to illness and injury.

“The lack of paid sick leave for all railroad workers, 30 years following the passage of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), is unacceptable,” the unions’ resolution stated.

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Transportation industry representatives attack infrastructure law rollout

By Admin

Reported by John Gallagher for American Shipper.

Transportation officials representing trucking, rail and seaports took aim at priorities touted by Democrats over the past two years — including the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) — at the opening hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Wednesday.

They took their cue from the committee’s Republicans, who now lead the 65-member panel after Republicans took control of the House in January.

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Railroad corporations want to slash train crews for Wall Street profits

By Admin

Reported by People’s World.

Using safety of workers and communities as their main argument, two top railroad unions and the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department strongly argued for mandatory two-person crews on all freight trains.

TTD and unions carried their campaign to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) hearing on crews on Dec. 14, a day after rail workers’ rallied nationwide on another top issue, with its own safety component, paid sick and family leave. Congress nixed that when it imposed a new contract on the nation’s 115,000 freight rail workers.

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Expect to hear more about rail service issues in 2023

By Admin

Reported by Joanna Marsh for Freightwaves.

The Surface Transportation Board’s regulatory to-do list, train crew sizes and merger conditions related to Canadian Pacific’s acquisition of Kansas City Southern are just some of the big issues that rail industry stakeholders will be watching in 2023.

One of the biggest issues that the U.S. freight industry will tackle is how to improve rail service. Closely related to that are the potential actions that STB could take to address that issue.

“After being dormant for much of the last decade, the board has several large cases before it, including private railcar demurrage, reciprocal switching, [as well as] the carriers’ use of embargoes to meter traffic and essentially skirt the common carrier obligation,” said Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal for consulting firm FTR Transportation Intelligence. “This board really likes the idea of fairness and that will lead them to be active.”

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Top 10 stories of 2022: No. 1, Rail labor and the near strike

By Admin

Reported by Bill Stephens for Trains.

Railroads were catapulted into national headlines in the fall as labor negotiations came down to the wire, raising the prospect of the first strike or lockout in three decades.

After nearly three years of fruitless negotiations between a dozen labor unions and the railroads, the Biden Administration in July appointed a Presidential Emergency Board to make contract recommendations.

The PEB in August recommended a 24% wage increase, along with $5,000 in service recognition bonus payments, over the five-year life of the contract retroactive to Jan. 1, 2020. That was below the 28% increase the unions sought, but above the railroads’ 16% proposed wage hike. The board also recommended that railroads and unions sort out working conditions issues, including scheduling and sick time, on the local level.

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By Admin

AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department President Greg Regan joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast and discussed testimony he provided the Federal Railroad Administration about the need to maintain two-person crews to run trains.

The Federal Railroad Administration is looking to set a baseline of people needed to run a train, Regan said. Currently, two-person crews are used, but the railroad industry has argued that one-person crews are sufficient, he explained. Regan talked about the danger of a one-person crew and why maintaining two-person crews is in the interest of public safety.

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Berkheimer: Rail issues remain from aborted strike

By Admin

Darrell Berkheimer Opinion The Aspen Times.

Yes, the recent federally-suppressed rail strike would have created economic chaos and cost Americans billions of dollars daily. But, have we neglected to identify the culprits that created reasons for the strike?

The forced settlement cheats many rail employees of needed sick leave and fails to adequately address bare-bones train staffing that created unsafe conditions.

My long-time interest in railroading dates back to the 1950s in my home county, where the steam era lasted longer than most places. And, that interest prompted me to build two HO-scale model railroads — the first in Pennsylvania and, later, a larger 15-by-19-foot model layout in my Montana home.

My interest in railroading continues today as I read reports on railroad conditions in the United States. For instance, the headline on one opinion story cited the United States as “a First World nation with a Third World rail system.”

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