When the House considers H.R. 2095, the Federal Railroad Safety Improvement Act, we urge you to support this important legislation. It has been over a decade since rail safety laws were updated and it is long past time that this industry and its workers see improvements.
For years, transportation labor has called for a myriad of safety reforms in the railroad industry. We are pleased that this bill finally improves worker training and addresses the harassment and intimidation of workers who report safety problems. H.R. 2095 requires more federal safety inspectors to ensure that trains, equipment, track and railroad bridges are in good working order and do not cause safety risks. The bill implements the recommendations of the National Transportation Safety Board to improve “dark territory” or areas of non-signaled track that continue to threaten safety despite simple and affordable technology that would address this problem. The bill also makes great strides to address fatigue in the industry which, unfortunately and unnecessarily, is a major cause of accidents.
We also urge you to support the Napolitano amendment to place strict limits on the outsourcing of safety inspection work to Mexico. Specifically, the Napolitano amendment would prohibit Mexican companies and inspectors from performing mechanical and brake inspections of rail cars entering the U.S. unless stringent U.S. rail safety, training, and enforcement standards are met. As corporations continue their quest to outsource work to the lowest bidder, we must ensure that safety is not compromised.
On behalf of transportation labor and specifically the railroad workers represented by the 10 unions of TTD’s Rail Labor Division, we ask that you vote in favor of the Napolitano amendment and for final passage of H.R. 2095 and reject any motion that would prevent this important legislation from moving forward. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me or Elizabeth Baker at 202/628-9262.