SMART-TD, BLET and ARLA urge Supreme Court to protect FELA

The SMART Transportation Division (SMART-TD), Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and the Academy of Rail Labor Attorneys (ARLA) have filed a joint motion and brief urging the United States Supreme Court to prevent railroads from seeking property damages from their employees who are involved in railroad accidents. The joint amicus curiae brief was […]

Supreme Court: Part of lost wages award is taxable under Railroad Retirement Act

A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court found that the portion of a damages award attributable to lost wages for a workplace injury is considered to be taxable compensation under the Railroad Retirement Tax Act (RRTA). The decision in BNSF Railway Co. v. Loos (No. 17-1042) was released March 4. Michael Loos pursued a claim […]

Essential book informs members about railroad safety laws

“What Every Railroader Should Know,” written by Lawrence Mann, rail safety coordinator to SMART Transportation Division’s Designated Legal Counsel (DLC), is an extensive and comprehensive survey of federal railroad safety law as it pertains to rail workers and is essential reading for TD members concerned about how the law protects them. Mann, who has served […]

Mo. Supreme Court rules FELA awards not taxable

In cases brought by the law firm of Schlichter, Bogard & Denton, LLP of St. Louis on behalf of injured railroad workers, two courts have ruled favorably to workers that FELA judgments are not subject to tax withholding under the Railroad Retirement Tax Act (RRTA). The Missouri Supreme Court in Mickey v. BNSF Railway Co., […]

Justice Department weighs in on BNSF appeal

The U.S. Justice Department is weighing in on an appeal by BNSF railroad over a $145,000 judgment to a former employee hurt on the job, saying a judge’s order to pay the full amount without deducting federal railroad retirement taxes could be “harmful to the United States because … it may interfere with federal tax […]

OSHA, BNSF reach accord over whistleblowers

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has signed an accord with BNSF Railway Co. announcing BNSF’s voluntary revision of several personnel policies that OSHA alleged violated the whistleblower provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act and dissuaded workers from reporting on-the-job injuries. FRSA’s Section 20109 protects railroad workers from […]

SEPTA fails in backdoor attempt to escape FELA

It is no secret that railroads have tried with all their king’s horsemen and all their king’s men (and women) to send to the dust bin of history the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA), considered the best friend of rail workers in forcing carriers to improve workplace safety. That 1908 law allows railroaders to recover […]

AAR confirms FELA saves lives

Rail operating employees know the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) saves lives by forcing railroads to address safety problems carriers might ignore if the penalty were no more than the equivalent of a parking ticket. Confirmation now comes from the Association of American Railroads (AAR), which speaks for the carriers. A July 29 presentation by […]