President of the Transportation Trades Department, Greg Regan, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the ongoing battle for rail safety improvements, safety legislation and a high-speed rail system working with unions in California.
Rail safety is still a major concern for the TTD. Despite the best efforts of the administration and Railroad Safety Administration, until there can be actual legislation passed, Regan doesn’t believe changes will be made. The Rail Safety Act, is currently in the U.S. Senate, and is about two or three members shy of having the support needed to pass. Until the industry can put safety ahead of profits, the needed changes to make railroads safer won’t happen, he said.
Meanwhile, there have been several independent bills proposed in the U.S. House, but unfortunately, there hasn’t been any movement. While the Senate attempts to pass the Rail Safety Act on a bipartisan basis, the House has not done anything to support improving rail safety. Regan said if the Senate can pass the bill, it could put pressure on the House to get something done to improve rail safety.
The California High-Speed Rail project is covered by one of the largest Project Labor Agreements in the United States. The project is meant to create a high-speed rail line that will eventually stretch from San Diego to Sacramento. The project has reached a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with several transportation unions in California. This MOU ensures that after the building stage is completed, the maintenance and operation of the rail line will be done by a majority union workforce.
Listen to podcast here.