Archive for the ‘Alumni Association News’ Category

Kansas SLD criticizes UP yard cuts

Union Pacific’s version of Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR) claimed more victims recently.

UP announced last week that it was doing away with its Neff Yard in Kansas City, Mo., and with it 200 well-paying rail jobs evaporate.

The short-term benefits of these and other workforce reductions by carriers in the name of PSR result in a few more bucks for Wall Street shareholders — the end result of PSR for all to see.

Ignored is the long-term damage done to customer service as the carrier tries to adapt to the change it has made to operations, to equipment because of deferred maintenance, to the lives of employees – both those who are left jobless and those who have to work even harder to pick up the slack — and to the economies of communities in which those good-paying rail jobs have vanished.

UP’s not alone. Right around Labor Day at two locations in Pennsylvania and one in Virginia, Norfolk Southern cut nearly 300 jobs. What do the two carriers have in common? They’re both knee-deep in PSR.

SMART TD leadership backs Kansas State Legislative Director Ty Dragoo, who wrote a letter to explain to members of the general public about what the carriers are really doing.

We support the Kansas State Legislative Board’s efforts to preserve jobs in the face of carrier cuts and hope that other members of rail labor follow his lead. SLD Dragoo’s letter is reproduced below. He is not being silent, and we will not be silent.

Dear Editor,

America’s railroads are going through a round of job cuts. But at what cost? We, the public, are paying for significant Wall Street gains while selling out our communities.

Union Pacific has announced the closure of Neff Yard in Kansas City. Now you get to hold the bag as UP takes the money to the bank.

Kansas State Legislative Director Ty Dragoo

Union Pacific Railroad’s decision this week to abolish 200 positions at Neff Yard follows similar force reductions by the other major freight rail systems across the country.

The cuts aren’t coming because the company is losing money: Union Pacific in July 2019 reported 2019 second-quarter net income of $1.6 billion, or $2.22 per diluted share. This compares to $1.5 billion, or $1.98 per diluted share, in the second quarter of 2018.

“We delivered record second-quarter financial results driven by exceptional operating performance, including an all-time best quarterly operating ratio of 59.6 percent,” said Lance Fritz, Union Pacific chairman.

The cuts aren’t due to burdensome corporate taxes. Union Pacific disclosed in 2017 the estimated impact from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That disclosure saw some shocking amounts of money to the tune of $6 billion.

The $5.8 billion benefit comes primarily from the revaluation of UP’s deferred tax liabilities to reflect the new federal corporate tax rate of 21 percent.

Also, UP stated the tax break law would result in a $200 million non-cash reduction to its operating expenses. It is also of note that many states and local communities have subsidized Union Pacific with tax money.

The most-significant financial boost was Union Pacific’s much-lower tax bill for the reporting quarters. Operating income may have increased, which is impressive knowing that workers are responsible for that, but the company’s tax bill since passage has been substantially lower, which has led to a massive increase in net income for the quarters.

Despite taxpayer dollars and tax cuts helping Union Pacific gain more per-share for Wall Street, their way to say “thanks” seems to be, pack up and go. This is leaving behind an economic catastrophe for impacted communities to clean up for themselves. To add insult to injury, the company didn’t even have the decency to warn employees until a few days out.

The cuts are due to insatiable corporate greed. Union Pacific is one of the largest U.S. freight rail operators with annual revenues of more than $20 billion.

While communities struggle with basic needs, education, public utilities, streets, emergency services, food tax rates, sales tax, etc. all at the table for increase when UP wants its cut. You have been paying more while they cut and run. This is a double slap to the face; one we must be vocal about.

These job losses will ripple through the heart of the local economy. Without income and security, workers and families won’t be able to spend on clothes, restaurants, recreation, and much more. Union Pacific isn’t only undermining workers and families, but entire regional economies.

As we stand in solidarity with the Union Pacific workers who are about to lose their livelihoods, we can’t forget that corporate decisions in faraway places leave deep scars in unsuspecting communities. Not only do workers in these communities deserve gratitude, but we must also hold companies who take them for granted accountable. When communities invest in companies, we are investing in jobs.

We kept our promise. Will Union Pacific and other railroads continue to break theirs?

Sincerely,

Ty Dragoo

Kansas State Legislative Director — SMART TD

 

Members in Kansas and Missouri — please take a few moments of your time to tell the elected officials listed below about what you think about the carrier cash grab that is PSR.

CONGRESSMAN EMANUEL CLEAVER

D.C. OFFICE

2335 Rayburn HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515

Phone: (202) 225-4535

Fax: (202) 225-4403

Email him at https://cleaver.house.gov/contact/email-me

CLEAVER’S KANSAS CITY DISTRICT OFFICE

101 W. 31st St.
Kansas City, MO 64108

Phone: (816) 842-4545

Fax: (816) 471-5215

 

CONGRESSWOMAN SHARICE DAVIDS

D.C. OFFICE

1541 Longworth HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515

Phone: (202) 225-2865

Email her at https://davids.house.gov/contact/email-me

DAVIDS’ KANSAS CITY DISTRICT OFFICE

753 State Ave., Suite 460
Kansas City, KS 66101

Phone: 913-766-3993

 

KANSAS CITY COUNCILWOMAN KATHERYN SHIELDS

City Hall
414 E. 12th St.
Kansas City, MO 64106

Phone: 816-513-6515

Email: katheryn.shields@kcmo.org

 

KANSAS CITY COUNCILMAN ERIC BUNCH

Legislative aide Crissy Dastrup 816-513-6517

Email: Eric.Bunch@kcmo.org

 

KANSAS CITY MAYOR QUINTON LUCAS

City Hall
29th Floor
414 E. 12th St.
Kansas City, MO 64106

Phone: 816-513-3500

Email: MayorQ@kcmo.org

Update on the facts of the crew consist lawsuit from President Ferguson

Brothers and sisters of the SMART Transportation Division,

I wanted to take this opportunity to explain what the crew consist lawsuit that has been filed in federal court in Texas is about. From the questions we have received, it appears that there is some confusion.

The lawsuit, filed on October 3, 2019, by BNSF, CSX, Kansas City Southern, Grand Trunk Western, Norfolk Southern, Illinois Central, Union Pacific, and the Belt Railway Company of Chicago, attempts to challenge the crew consist moratoriums of various local agreements and force the Organization to bargain over crew consist on a national level in this upcoming round of national negotiations. As a bit of background, when the crew consist agreements were negotiated, the carriers agreed to a “moratorium” on negotiating over this topic. Under the Railway Labor Act, a moratorium serves to bar negotiations over topics for a defined period of time. The carrier is now insisting that we arbitrate the meaning of the moratorium provisions.

This is not the first time that the carriers have attempted to challenge the crew consist agreements they have entered into over the years. It seems that in each round of bargaining they raise this issue anew. And in each round, they have lost the argument. Although we have not yet been served with the lawsuit, we are ready to defend our agreements.

Interestingly, the lawsuit was filed on the same day we were holding the Association of General Chairpersons District 1 meeting. When notified of the suit, all 56 General Chairpersons, without exception, pledged to act in solidarity as we embark on the upcoming round of National Railroad contract talks. The signing of the resolution is but one example of the inseparability that we will exhibit going forward as we negotiate.

I have attached the lawsuit for your review, and I will keep you apprised as matters develop. With all the various media avenues that can be full of misinformation, I feel that it is extremely important that our members be aware of the facts of the situation.

In solidarity,

 

 

 

 

Jeremy Ferguson
President — Transportation Division

Ohio SLD reminds state members to show their support for rail safety bill H.B. 186

State Legislative Director Stu Gardner reminds members in his state of Ohio that they should continue to show their elected officials their support for H.B. 186, a comprehensive railroad safety bill under consideration in the state’s House of Representatives.

H.B. 186 covers the following safety issues:

  • Two-person freight train crews
  • Proper walkways in railroad yard safety legislation
  • Railroad yard lighting safety legislation
  • Blocked crossings

Members representing SMART Transportation Division as well as representatives from the BLET provided more than two hours of proponent testimony to show state House Transportation and Public Safety committee members why the railroad safety legislation is deserving of their support.

The next step in the process is a hearing for opponents of the legislation to give their testimony to the committee. A date for that hearing has yet to be scheduled, but Gardner says that some of the delay may be because the carriers are looking to mobilize their “heavy hitters” to appear and attempt to stop the bill’s passage.

“Let those committee members know that those ‘Heavy Hitters’ don’t live or vote in OHIO,” Gardner said. “They also need to understand that we are passionate about our safety, and the safety of the communities that our yards are located, and through which our trains pass.”

Gardner suggests that Ohio members either call the offices or set up in-person meetings with members of the committee who are listed below.

Chairman:
Doug Green HD 66 (Mount Orab)
Phone: (614) 644-6034
Home Address: 708 S. High St., Mt. Orab, OH 45154

Vice Chairman:
Riordan T. McClain HD 87 (Upper Sandusky)
Phone: (614) 644-6265
Home Address: 469 N. 5th St., Upper Sandusky, OH 43351

Ranking Member:
Michael Sheehy HD 46 (Oregon)
Phone: (614) 466-1418
Home Address: 1129 Schmidlin Rd., Oregon, OH 43616

Juanita Brent HD 12 (Cleveland)
Phone: (614) 466-1408
Home Address: 16804 Glendale Ave., Cleveland, OH 44128

James M. Hoops HD 81 (Napoleon)
Phone: (614) 466-3760
Home Address: 195 Old Creek Dr., Napoleon, OH 43545

Stephanie Howse HD 11 (Cleveland)
Phone: (614) 466-1414
Home Address: 1220 Spring Rd., Cleveland, OH 44109

Don Jones HD 95 (Freeport)
Phone: (614) 644-8728
Home Address: 34755 Jones Rd., Freeport, OH 43973

Jeff LaRe HD 77 (Violet Twp.)
Phone: (614) 466-8100

Michele Lepore-Hagan HD 58 (Youngstown)
Phone: (614) 466-9435
Home Address: 562 Madera Ave., Youngstown, OH 44504

Susan Manchester HD 84 (Lakeview)
Phone: (614) 466-6344
(419) 303-2670
Home Address: 29249 St. Rt. 385, Lakeview, OH 43331

Gayle Manning HD 55 (North Ridgeville)
Phone: (614) 644-5076
Home Address: 9436 Foxboro Dr., North Ridgeville, OH 44039

Jessica Miranda, HD 28 (Forest Park)
Phone: (614) 466-8120
(513) 266-3937
Home Address: 11511 Oxfordshire Ln., Cincinnati, OH 45240

Michael J. O’Brien HD 64 (Warren)
Phone: (614) 466-5358
(330) 727-1097
Home Address: 1849 Edgewood St. NE, Warren, OH 44483

Thomas Patton HD 7 (Strongsville)
Phone: (614) 466-4895
Home Address: 17157 Rabbit Run Dr., Strongsville, OH 44136

Reggie Stoltzfus HD 50 (Minerva)
Phone: (614) 466-9078
(330) 936-6001
Home Address: 13789 Telpahak St SE, Minerva, OH 44657

The bill is sponsored by Ohio Reps. Mike Sheehy, a retired rail worker and member of the SMART TD Alumni Association, and Brent Hillyer.

 


See these related stories from SMART TD:

 

Carrier sues Illinois to stop two-person crew law

Indiana Rail Road, with the backing of the major rail carrier organizations, has filed suit challenging a law requiring two people on freight crews in Illinois, the Courthouse News Service reported.

“The recent history of railroads confirms the wisdom of FRA’s expert determination that minimum-crew-size laws are neither necessary nor appropriate,” the carriers said in their filing. “In recent decades, technological breakthroughs have allowed railroads to gradually decrease average crew sizes—from about five in the 1960s to just two today—while compiling an ever-improving record of safety. Now, the nation’s railroads are poised to deliver even safer and more efficient service.”

The filing repeatedly referenced the Federal Railroad Administration’s withdrawal of its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that occurred in late May. In the NPRM, FRA Administrator Ron Batory announced that his agency was acting with the intention to pre-empt any state laws regarding rail crew size. Indiana Rail Road, a regional railroad that operates over 250 miles of track in Illinois and Indiana, began using one-person crews in 1997.

The FRA’s NPRM withdrawal is being challenged in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Nevada by SMART TD, Illinois and a number of other states. Illinois on Aug. 9 became the seventh state overall and third this year to enact two-person crew legislation. The Illinois law is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

The lawsuit, which also lists the Association of American Railroads and American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association as plaintiffs, was filed Sept. 30 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division.

Texas-area members invited to Houston solidarity rally

Local 1892 invites union members to the fourth-annual Houston Solidarity Rally that is scheduled noon to 8 p.m. Sept. 24 at the SPJST Lounge, 1435 Beall St. in Houston.

The event is open to all and has previously drawn members from 16 locals/divisions/lodges from multiple unions around Texas and the Gulf Coast.

It features BBQ, guest speakers, prize drawings, vendors and informational booths.

“Someone best described it as a ‘mini-regional’ for our area,” said Local 1892 S&T Robert Maldonado.

For more information, visit https://www.railrally.com/

Ohio SLD, members testify before state House for rail safety legislation

COLUMBUS – Proponents of H.B. 186, a comprehensive railroad safety bill being considered in the Ohio Legislature, stated their case in force Sept. 10 during a meeting of the state House’s Transportation and Public Safety Committee.

Representatives from SMART Transportation Division, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and others testified before committee members for more than two hours about why legislators should back the bill.

“I cannot discuss our effort to secure H.B. 186 — the two-person crew, proper lighting, proper walkways within rail yards and blocked crossing legislation in Ohio without addressing safety,” Ohio State Legislative Director Stu Gardner told the committee. “The safety of my members and the people who live in the communities that our rail yards are located in and through which our trains travel and operate will always be my top priority.”

Gardner and nine others discussed the safety implications of the bill and the fact that technology would never substitute for the presence of two people in the cabs of freight trains, especially as the rail industry continues to embark on a strategy of lengthening trains while deferring on reinvestment for the sake of increasing the returns of Wall Street investors.

H.B. 186, sponsored by Ohio Reps. Mike Sheehy, a retired rail worker and member of the SMART TD Alumni Association, and Brent Hillyer covers the following safety issues:

  • Two-person freight train crews
  • Proper walkways in railroad yards
  • Railroad yard lighting safety
  • Blocked crossings

Terry Forson, whose experience with a runaway train in Ohio helped to inspire the movie “Unstoppable,” testifies on Sept. 10, 2019, before the Ohio House Committee on Transportation and Public Safety.

Terry Forson of Local 1397 in Columbus, whose experience with the infamous 2001 “Crazy 88s” runaway incident in Ohio helped to inspire the 2010 Hollywood film “Unstoppable,” testified that having two people in the cab avoided a catastrophe on May 15, 2001.

“If there had not been two crewmembers on my train that day, we would not have been able to stop the runaway train; and, given the fact that we were also hauling hazardous materials, who knows how many deaths would have resulted from the train’s ultimate derailment?” he said. “The nightmare scenario has happened.”

Ohio Alternate State Legislative Director Clyde Whitaker of Local 145 in Columbus went into more detail about a conductor’s role, especially when describing the tasks performed during a rail emergency, as well as the hazards posed by inadequate lighting and perilous walkways in the state’s rail yards.

“We’re not asking for a golf course,” he said. “Railroads have always been an out-of-sight-out-of-mind type of industry. You never know that we’re there until we make the six o’clock news.

“This is a common-sense piece of legislation — it would ensure the safety of communities and co-workers.”

And while the adoption of technology, especially Positive Train Control (PTC), has the potential to help the industry, it just has not functioned as advertised.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, another Local 1397 member who also is an Operation Lifesaver volunteer, said he has witnessed problems with PTC not engaging until thousands of feet after a signal has been passed.

“There’s a lot to be desired with Positive Train Control,” he said.

He testified as well about seeing a train blocking a crossing for more than 12 hours while he was driving past.

“We need to address these things,” he said. “We need to understand that these situations can be life or death for some people.”

Also appearing at the hearing were Jair Torres of Local 138 (Lima, Ohio); William Darling of Local 1376 in Columbus; Bob Hagan, a former Ohio senator and representative who now works for the BLET in its Washington legislative department; Timothy Price, the BLET’s Ohio state legislative director; and adjunct professor of management and leadership John Nadalin, who teaches at Franklin University in Columbus, was a rail worker for four decades, a former UTU director of strategic planning and a current Alumni Association member.

“Rail carriers are kind of vain to take responsibility of their own mismanagement,” Nadalin, a stockholder in CSX, said. “As an investor and a proponent for safe operations as previously discussed, I really don’t like what I see today: Making changes that put employees and the public in general at risk should never be allowed.”

H.B. 186 will receive a third hearing to feature testimony from opponents of the bill before the legislation is considered by the committee for advancement to the full Ohio House of Representatives.

To watch the entire hearing, visit this link to The Ohio Channel.

Railroad Retirement Board seeks feedback on online services in survey

A contractor working with the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) on the board’s information technology initiatives, including RRB’s online services, is seeking feedback from active railroad workers and retirees that will direct its future plans.

Accenture has set a Sept. 20 deadline for responding to the anonymous and voluntary survey.

The RRB will use the results gained from the survey to help drive future strategic plans for online offerings that will assist railroad workers and retirees alike.

Visit https://survey.us.confirmit.com/wix/p3092699632.aspx?csr=rrb to participate in the survey.

Ohio rail safety bill scheduled for hearing; testimony needed

State Legislative Director Stu Gardner reports that proponent testimony has been scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019,  in House Hearing Room 114 in the Ohio Statehouse, 1 Capitol Square in Columbus, regarding H.B. 186, a comprehensive railroad safety bill under consideration in the state’s House of Representatives.

“This is the SMART TD and BLET members, friends and concerned citizens’ opportunity to let the House Transportation and Safety committee know and understand the reasons why HB 186 – a comprehensive railroad safety bill — is important to us and the communities that our trains pass through, and where those railroad yards are located throughout the state of Ohio,” Gardner said.

H.B. 186 covers the following safety issues:

  • Two-person freight train crews
  • Proper walkways in railroad yard safety legislation
  • Railroad yard lighting safety legislation
  • Blocked crossings

The bill is sponsored by Ohio Reps. Mike Sheehy, a retired rail worker and member of the SMART TD Alumni Association, and Brent Hillyer.

Proponent testimony must be provided to Matthew Taylor in Committee Chairman Doug Green’s office (Matthew.Taylor@ohiohouse.gov.)  with the deadline for electronic submission of both written and in-person testimony and witness slip being 3 p.m. Sept. 9, the Monday before the hearing. On the day of the hearing, witnesses have the option of presenting their testimony in person before the committee if they have submitted the testimony and required witness slip by the deadline.

Gardner said that he plans to be at the Statehouse at 9 a.m. the day of the hearing.

“My hope is we have a large turnout (even if you are not giving testimony) to demonstrate our solidarity on these important rail safety issues,” he said.

If the volume of testimony warrants, Gardner said that subsequent committee hearings could be scheduled for the legislation so that all witnesses are heard.

“Please advocate and give testimony in support of H.B. 186,” Gardner said. “Thank you for your support.”

Instructions for those wishing to testify before the committee:

Prior to committee:

  • The House Transportation and Public Safety Committee is scheduled to meet on Tuesday mornings at 11 a.m. in House Hearing Room 114 in the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus.
    • The committee notice typically goes out on Friday afternoon. The notice will confirm that H.B. 186 is up for a hearing and when and where the committee will convene.
    • The Ohio SLB will work with the chairman’s office and our policy team to get as much of an advanced notice as possible
  • Testimony is to be electronically submitted to the chairman’s office by 3 p.m. Monday afternoon.
  • A witness slip (fillable PDF) is to be completed prior to the committee meeting and should also be submitted electronically to the chairman’s office.
  • Testimony and the witness slip can be submitted at the same time and there is no need to send multiple emails.
  • Materials may be submitted to Matthew Taylor in Chairman Doug Green’s Office at (Matthew.Taylor@ohiohouse.gov.)

Day of committee:

  • When the committee notice is distributed, SLD Gardner will make sure to relay the information and will draw attention to any changes that have been made to the committee’s location and start time.
  • Folks may arrive any time before the committee hearing begins.
  • There is no need to check in with staff so long as testimony was submitted properly.
  • Attendees may take a seat in the audience.
  • As committee begins, the chairman will announce the hearing of bills. As testimony begins on H.B. 186, the chairman will call each individual up by the name submitted on the witness slip.
  • After testimony has been given, the individual may remain in the committee room for the duration of the hearing.

Instructions for those wishing to submit written-only testimony:

  • Written-only testimony is for those who may not be able to attend the committee hearing to testify in person, or for those who may want to attend committee but do not wish to verbally testify.

Written-only testimony:

  • Testimony is to be electronically submitted to the Chairman’s Office by 3 p.m. Monday afternoon, the day before the scheduled hearing.
  • The witness slip is to be completed prior to the committee hearing and should also be submitted electronically to the Chairman’s Office.
  • Testimony and the witness slip can be submitted at the same time, and there is no need to send multiple emails.
  • Materials may be submitted to Matthew Taylor in Chairman Doug Green’s Office at (Matthew.Taylor@ohiohouse.gov.)

Members invited to big Labor Day marches

All SMART members are invited to participate in annual Labor Day parades.

On Monday, Sept. 2, in Galesburg, Ill., Transportation Division Alternate National Legislative Director-elect Jared Cassity is scheduled to be in attendance to march alongside members of TD Local 195 and all other members who attend the 127th edition of the parade, a tradition that recognizes the sacrifice and contribution that workers have made in building our nation.

“Galesburg holds the title for the second-oldest consecutive Labor Day parade in America,” said Local Chairperson Bryan Roberts (LCA 001E) of TD Local 195. “We will have a photo with everyone before the parade begins and a float available to ride in the parade.”

Roberts said participants should meet between 8 and 9 a.m. at the TD Local 195 union hall in the basement of the Bondi Building, 311 E. Main St., lower level. There is an access door off Kellogg Street as well that leads downstairs to the union hall in addition to the building’s main entrance.

Roberts said there will be a picnic with food and drink provided immediately following the parade at Lake Story, Pavilion 3, 1572 Machens Drive in Galesburg. The pavilion is immediately to the left when turning off Lake Story Road toward the Main Pavilion across from the softball fields, Roberts said. Alcohol is prohibited on site.

All members in Galesburg and the surrounding area are invited to participate.

“We hope to see everyone there,” Roberts said.

In Nebraska, food and fun are on the schedule at the membership feed 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 1, the night before the big parade in Omaha.

Parade T-shirts will also be distributed at the Sheet Metal Workers Hall, 3333 S. 24th St., in Omaha.

Line-up for the parade takes place at 9 a.m. the following day at the northeast corner of 17th and Mike Fahey streets. Attend the feed or contact State Legislative Director Bob Borgeson for more details on participating at smartdirector@cox.net.

And members, if you attend this or any other Labor Day event, please send in your photos to news_td@smart-union.org for consideration in the next edition of the TD News!

RRB announces schedule for Fall pre-retirement seminars

Thinking of retiring soon?

Designed for railroad employees and spouses planning to retire within five years, the pre-retirement seminars offered by the Railroad Retirement Board are designed to familiarize attendees with the retirement benefits available to them, and also guide them through the application process. Sponsored by the Office of the Labor Member, seminars are held at a number of locations annually. Registration is required to attend.

Pre-Retirement Seminar Booklet  PDF icon

RRB field service representatives conduct each pre-retirement seminar using a slide presentation covering the various benefits provided retired rail workers and their families. Attendees receive a program booklet of this presentation with detailed side notes and fact sheets. In addition to the program booklet, seminar attendees receive a retirement kit full of informational handouts and other helpful materials. Online and downloadable versions of items included with seminar kits are available on the RRB’s Educational Materials webpage.

Schedule and registration

Registration is required to ensure accommodations and materials for all attendees.

  • Unless otherwise noted, pre-retirement seminars begin at 8:30 a.m. and are held over the course of 4 hours. (Doors open for attendees 30 minutes before the seminar start time.)
  • Security screening is required for seminars hosted inside any Federal buildings. Bring a current, valid photo ID (issued by State/Federal Government); no weapons permitted.
  • Parking fee for seminars marked with *.
  • Attendees are encouraged to bring original records (or certified copies) of documents required in order to file a railroad retirement application (such as proof of age, marriage or military service), along with an additional copy of each item to leave with field service staff.
  • Please let the RRB know if you sign up for a seminar and become unable to attend.

Can’t join the RRB for a seminar, but still interested in learning about the railroad retirement program and application process? Please contact the RRB via Field Office Locator or by calling toll-free (1-877-772-5772) for pre-retirement information or to schedule an appointment for individual retirement counseling at your local RRB field office.

To RSVP on paper instead, print a registration form to complete, then mail or fax to your local RRB field office.

New officers chosen at Second TD Convention

SMART Transportation Division President-elect Jeremy R. Ferguson addresses the Second SMART TD Convention on Sunday, Aug. 11, in Las Vegas.

LAS VEGAS – SMART GEC Member and Transportation Division (TD) Vice President Jeremy R. Ferguson of Local 313 (Grand Rapids, Mich.) was elected President – Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, shortly after the opening August 11th of the union’s Second Transportation Division Convention at the Mirage Resort in Las Vegas.

Ferguson was challenged for the office by fellow TD Vice President John England (Local 1674, Los Angeles, Calif.) and Robert “Bob” Keeley, former general chairperson of GCA 342 (CSX – Northern District) out of Local 1951 (Albany, N.Y.). Ferguson received 380 votes of the 440 ballots cast.

“Get ready to go to work … It’s going to take the upmost dedication and determination, but we will fight the injustices to the end,” Ferguson said. “We will stand shoulder-to-shoulder, and I will lead from the front. Your voices will be heard, and you will hear my voice.

“General chairpersons, state directors – you deserve more from us, and we will deliver.”

Alternate National Legislative Director Gregory Hynes (Local 1081, Phoenix, Ariz.) was elected National Legislative Director, defeating Utah State Legislative Director F. Jay Seegmiller (Local 166, Salt Lake City, Utah) in a 255-to-185 vote. Hynes will succeed John J. Risch III, who previously announced he would not seek re-election.

SMART TD National Legislative Director-elect Gregory Hynes addresses delegates Aug. 11 at the Second SMART TD Convention in Las Vegas.

Incumbent TD Vice Presidents Brent Leonard (Local 202, Denver, Colo.), Calvin Studivant (Local 759, Newark, N.J.) and John D. Whitaker III (Local 1106, Rocky Mount, N.C.) were returned to office by acclamation.

Also elected TD Vice President by acclamation were Alternate TD Vice President Chadrick Adams (Local 331, Temple, Texas), Executive Board Member and GCA 049 General Chairperson Jamie Modesitt and Joe M. Lopez, general chairperson of GCA 009 (BNSF).

Additionally, General Chairperson D.B. Wier, Jr., (GCA 919, Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis) of Local 469 was elected TD vice president, defeating General Chairperson Tom Pate (GCA 20, BNSF), president of Local 1081 in Glendale, Ariz., and General Chairperson Billy Moye (GCA CSX-SCL) of Local 1971 in Atlanta, Ga.

Meanwhile, Alternate Vice President Bus – East Alvy Hughes (Local 1596. Charlotte, N.C.) defeated Bonnie Morr (Local 23, Santa Cruz, Calif.) and incumbent Vice President Bus Adhi Reddy (Local 1785, Santa Monica, Calif.) for TD Vice President Bus.

Article 21B, Section 35, of the SMART Constitution provides for a successor to the president of the Transportation Division in the event a vacancy occurs between conventions. To provide for such a contingency, delegates chose TD Vice President-elect Leonard to that position.

Kentucky State Legislative Director Jared Cassity was elected Alternate National Legislative Director. Waverly Harris, TD Alternate Vice President Bus – East, was elected to that position by acclamation.

Alternate Vice President Bus – West Guillermo Rosales was returned to that office, defeating Erskins Robinson, general chairperson of GCA SMB, out of Local 1785.

Among five candidates for four TD alternate vice president positions, Scott Chelette, Gary Crest, Larry Miller Jr. and Christopher Bartz were elected.

SMART TD Board of Appeals members elected by acclamation are Tim Flynn (engine services), Tessa Collins (road service), Rick Pauli (commuter), and Brenda Moore (bus).

Incumbent Kevin Smith won an election and will return as the Board of Appeals yard representative.

Elected to the TD Executive Board by acclamation were California Assistant State Legislative Director Mike Anderson, Dale Gerkin, John Dunn, Rex Allen and New York State Legislative Director Sam Nasca.

Ohio State Legislative Director Stu Gardner was elected Alternate to the Executive Board by acclamation.

The newly elected officers assume their roles officially on Oct. 1.

RRB appoints director of programs

The U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) has named Crystal Coleman as its director of programs.

As a result, Ms. Coleman will be responsible for overseeing all operations to process and pay benefits administered by the agency. She will also be a member of the RRB’s executive committee, which is responsible for day-to-day operations of the agency and for making policy recommendations to the three-member board.

At the time of her appointment, Ms. Coleman had served as the RRB’s deputy director of programs since November 2015. In that position, she served as the agency’s second in command on all program-related issues and operations to Dr. Michael A. Tyllas, who retired in December 2018 after more than 37 years of federal service.

Prior to her appointment as deputy director of programs, Ms. Coleman was the deputy regional director of the employee benefits security administration (EBSA) in Dallas. As the number-two official in the regional office, she supervised senior staff and assisted in planning, developing, implementing and evaluating EBSA programs in the region. An agency within the U.S. Department of Labor, the EBSA assures the security of retirement, health and other workplace-related benefits of workers and their families.

An EBSA employee for 24 years, Ms. Coleman previously served as both a supervisory and senior investigator in both Chicago and Los Angeles, as well as the Senior Advisor for Criminal Enforcement in Chicago, before assuming the deputy regional director position in October 2013. Before entering Federal service in 1991, she spent about 18 months as an economic development coordinator for the City of Chicago.

A native and current resident of Chicago, Ms. Coleman attended Illinois State University in Normal, Ill., receiving a bachelor’s degree in communications (1982), and subsequently earned a master’s degree in business administration (1991) from Roosevelt University in Chicago.

Her appointment was effective July 29.