Rail Labor Update: A FUBAR Lurks 

Written by Frank N. Wilner, Capitol Hill Contributing Editor For railwayage.com   Although six of 12 rail labor unions have ratified amendments to contracts setting wages, benefits and work rules on most Class I railroads and many smaller ones, two unions—the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS) and Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division of the Teamsters […]

As voting approaches for railroad engineers and conductors, union head refuses to release vote totals for firemen and oilers contract

Courtesy of wsws.org Tens of thousands of US railroad engineers and conductors in the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and SMART-TD will begin voting soon on a deal brokered by the White House last month.  The five-year deal, announced less than a day before a national strike deadline, is far short of workers’ […]

Federal infrastructure package could resolve railroad crew debate

The Wyoming Legislature has long wrestled with the question of whether to mandate two-person crews on the freight trains that traverse Wyoming’s more than 1,800 miles of track.  Now, the federal government may take action that resolves the issue — if the infrastructure package currently stalled in Congress passes.  The two-person crew mandate was adopted […]

Class I railroads pressed about service, furloughs

Surface Transportation Board, Federal Railroad Administration and labor unions ask for assurances By Joanna Marsh for freightwaves.com The Surface Transportation Board (STB) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Administrator Ron Batory have sent letters to the CEOs of all seven Class I railroads asking them to resolve service issues that have arisen during the months of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Their […]

Rail unions petition FRA to issue COVID-19 protocols to protect workers

Last week, two labor organizations petitioned the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to issue an emergency order addressing employee safety conditions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The SMART Transportation Division (SMART-TD) and Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) filed the joint request after the FRA on March 13 activated its “emergency relief docket,” which allows railroads to to request relief […]

How autonomous freight trains powered by artificial intelligence could come to a railroad near you

By  Justin Franz Special to The Seattle Times for seattletimes.com Last summer, a 30-car freight train led by three diesel locomotives rumbled down the tracks for 48 miles through the Colorado desert — with nobody at the controls.   But this was no runaway train. In fact, the experiment could be a preview of the […]

Coronavirus: A Silver Lining for Labor?

Written by Frank N. Wilner, Capitol Hill Contributing Editor for railwayage.com The year was 1917, and on Dec. 18, President Woodrow Wilson invoked the Army Appropriations Act of 1916 to take federal control of the nation’s railroads. The U.S. had entered World War I that April, and a lack of coordination among railroads, along with labor strife, […]

Rail Union Ordered to Bargain on Crew Consist

Written by Frank N. Wilner, Capitol Hill Contributing Editor railwayage.com “IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Defendant SMART-TD (including its divisions, lodges, locals, general committees, and officers) is hereby permanently enjoined from refusing and/or failing to bargain in good faith with each of the Railroads over the November 2019 Crew Consist Proposals in the manner required by […]

Railroads, Labor Trade Contract-Change Demands

Photo courtesy BLET. Written by Frank N. Wilner, Capitol Hill Contributing Editor for railwayage.com Collective bargaining between most of the nation’s largest railroads, represented by the National Carriers Conference Committee (NCCC), and their 12 craft-specific labor unions commenced Nov. 1 with the two sides exchanging broadly defined demands in preparation for face-to-face talks to amend contracts […]

Unions criticize practice of furloughing in the rail industry

Story by Joanna Marsh for freightwaves.com       Some rail unions are becoming more vocal about the rail industry’s practice of furloughing employees, saying the cuts in staffing that have resulted because of precision scheduled railroading (PSR) are stretching the workforce too thin. “Mass layoffs have been a disturbing and central component of PSR […]

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March 2023