America’s Workforce Podcast.
Greg Regan, President of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO joined the America’s Work Force Union and provided updates following the Feb. 3 Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. He also discussed the impact the derailment is having on the entire rail industry and problems with the Federal Aviation Administration that currently does not have a leader.
As more federal hearings and meetings take place regarding the East Palestine derailment, Regan feels it has become clear that the rail agencies are not as transparent as they claim. Many local residents and the union members who were charged with the cleanup task following the derailment have become sick. Unfortunately, there are no explanations for the symptoms these men and women have developed. Adding to the mystery, Regan said there are no examples of how this disaster will affect the area in the long term.
Following the recent federal hearings into the railroad industry and its safety procedures, new regulations have been introduced with bi-partisan support. The Reducing Accidents In Locomotives Act (RAIL Act) was introduced to bring practical regulations to rail industry operations. Among the changes are new railcar inspection instructions and mandatory full-time, two-member crews. Regan said this is a positive starting point, but believes more can be done to improve rail safety.
He also spoke about one of the major issues affecting the FAA. Recently, Phil Washington, the Biden Administration’s nominee to lead the FAA withdrew his nomination. Nine months following his initial nomination, Washington faced challenges about his experience from senators on both sides of the aisle. With the nomination withdrawn, the FAA has gone nearly one year without a confirmed administrator. In the meantime, Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen will continue to lead the agency until a new nominee is confirmed.
Listen to the entire episode to learn more.