Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, President Greg Regan joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast and spoke about the current battle between the TTD and railroad carriers, as the unions demand a stop to stock buybacks until improved safety measures are in place.
Recently, the TTD began a campaign that demands railroad companies not buy back their stock until the industry’s safety improves. Since 2015, the six publicly-traded U.S. freight rail companies spent over $165 billion on stock buybacks. That amount is at least $46 billion more than they invested in safety, as the ratio for derailments to every million miles traveled increased from 1.71 derailments in 2013 to nearly 2 in 2022, he added.
Currently, rail carriers follow the precision scheduled railroading (PSR) model. PSR is a business model designed to cut costs and improve profits. However, Regan thinks it is not safe. Since PSR was adopted, the rail industry workforce has grown smaller, trains are longer and accidents have increased. TTD-affiliated unions are calling for a ban on stock buybacks until their members feel safe and the industry ends its harmful business model.
Regan also discussed the ongoing FAA reauthorization, which aims to standardize and improve training across all safety repair stations. This will help improve safety for what is already considered the safest time for American air travel. However, he said there is a fight underway to remove the safety standards already in place, which would eliminate the safety progress made over recent years.