Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category

Golf outing to honor Donald Wheaton


Local 898 in Boston will be holding the Donnie Wheaton Memorial Golf Tournament on Oct. 5 at Maplegate Country Club in Franklin, Mass.

Holes are available for sponsorship by SMART TD locals for $150.

A 42-year employee for Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad, which became Keolis, Wheaton served as Alternate Legislative Director for New England and was tremendously active in the union.

He passed away unexpectedly in January at age 62.

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

2020 calendar photo submission deadline Friday, Sept. 20

SMART Transportation Division is seeking quality railroad, bus and airline photos taken by members for placement in the annual SMART TD Alumni Association calendar and for other uses. We are especially looking for photos from our bus members!

High-resolution horizontal digital photographs should be emailed to Printed photographs should be mailed to SMART TD News, 24950 Country Club Blvd., Suite 340, North Olmsted, OH 44070.

To be considered for the 2020 calendar, photos must be received by 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20. Be sure to include the photographer’s name and local number, the name(s) of the person(s) featured in the photograph (left to right) and any other pertinent information, such as the date and location where the photograph was taken. If your photo is chosen for inclusion in the calendar, you will receive some copies for your own personal use.

Due to federal or state regulations, or company restrictions on employees’ use of personal electronic devices, including cameras, on company property or while on duty, all members are advised to never take photos while on duty and to only take photos from a clear point of safety and in compliance with all applicable company rules. All photographs submitted become property of SMART Transportation Division.

Reminder: Section 6 proposals due by Sept. 30

ATTENTION: All SMART Transportation Division members employed by rail carriers negotiating under the umbrella of the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC).

As you are likely aware, on August 16, 2019, the SMART Transportation Division began the process of formulating Section 6 notices to be served on rail carriers represented by the NCCC, which will include proposals to increase wages, benefits and improve working conditions. In our communications, all officers and members were invited to submit proposals for the Section 6 notices to the SMART TD headquarters.

For those members who have already submitted proposals, we thank you for providing your invaluable input.

Members who have not yet responded are reminded that proposals are being cataloged through the month of September, and in October a committee of general chairpersons from the Association of General Chairpersons, District No. 1, will review the proposals and begin to fine-tune those suggestions into the notices to be served on the carriers.

In order for your proposal to be cataloged and considered by the Section 6 review committee, your proposal must be received in the Transportation Division office by September 30, 2019.

As a reminder, members may submit their proposals by email (preferred), fax or U.S. Mail:

Email –
Fax – (216) 228-5755,

or by writing to the attention of the SMART Transportation Division President at

24950 Country Club Blvd. Suite 340
North Olmsted OH 44070

Following this review process, the full Association of General Chairpersons, District No. 1, will be convened to review and finalize the union’s Section 6 notices. Soon thereafter, the Section 6 notices will be reproduced and mailed to all U.S. general chairpersons for serving on the affected railroads on or about Nov. 1, 2019, with changes to become effective no earlier than Jan. 1, 2020.

In addition to membership submitted proposals, SMART Transportation Division will conduct a membership survey to help define the issues for prioritization during negotiations.

“All affected members will be kept informed regarding the Section 6 notices and developments in negotiations, when possible, through the SMART Transportation Division News and the SMART TD website,” said Transportation Division President John Previsich.

The serving of the Section 6 notices is the first step in reaching a new national agreement with railroads represented by the NCCC. The carriers represented by the NCCC also have been working on their own wage and rule notices that they will serve at or about the same time the SMART-TD notices are served.

Under the Railway Labor Act, the current national agreement between SMART TD and NCCC will remain in effect until a new agreement is reached.

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 to participate in the survey.

GoFundMe opened for member shot while on the job

On July 22 of this year, Local 1715 member Karen Taylor was shot five times in broad daylight while her Charlotte Area Transit Systems (CATS) bus was stopped to unload passengers.

“…just as the last person stepped off of her bus, a man appeared out of nowhere and shot five times into her bus,” Taylor’s daughter, Latavia Clark, wrote on a gofundme page opened for Taylor. “All five shots struck my unsuspecting mother in her head, neck, shoulder and ear. One bullet and bullet fragments are still lodged in her skull.”

Taylor has already had four surgeries and is facing more in the future. The road to recovery is expected to be a long one and the bills are adding up as Taylor’s worker’s compensation claim has been denied.

Click here to donate or to leave your well wishes.

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 (  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 (

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 (

Happy Labor Day from SMART TD

Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894 after President Grover Cleveland signed it into law to appease angry union workers following a railroad labor strike that President Cleveland sent armed troops in to break up. More than a dozen workers were killed.

More information is available from National Public Radio, The History Channel or here from the U.S. Department of Labor.

SMART Transportation Division wishes all members and their families a safe and happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day From GP Sellers

Brothers and sisters, let me wish you and your family a Happy Labor Day.
This past month, we completed our Second SMART General Convention where transportation and sheet metal members stood together to work on focusing on the future to position our Union for the rapid changes coming to all our industries.
We worked to stay ahead of the curve to better serve Sheet Metal and Transportation Division members. We need to unify our voice and our vote to fight against anti-union and hostile influences that put members, families and our communities at risk. We worked on ensuring greater representation, organizing efforts, protecting registered apprenticeships, rail, bus and transit safety.
We learned all too well that elections have consequences, and the 2020 election is on us. We need to be laser focused on protecting our members and our careers by supporting our union values.
Ten years ago, a group of anti-union politicians were elected with disastrous results. Their immediate priority was to push through attacks on collective bargaining across the United States along with the passage of right-to-work laws from coast to coast. Due to the 10-year reapportionment of state and federal seats, they got to choose their voters and cemented their position in government. Unfortunately, bad policy is contagious and is also threatening to infiltrate the Canadian government in the upcoming federal election.
This time, we are taking their power to harm working families away and fighting back to build a better future for members and all working families.
Labor Day is a day founded to honor workers — the women and men who make sure both our nations are running straight and true. Remember the sacrifices of previous generations of workers that we honor on this and every Labor Day. Make sure you are signed up for the Political Action League or TD PAC and recognize the sacrifices and the foundation they made for us were not in vain.

Joseph Sellers, Jr.
SMART General President

Patriot Rail acquired by Australian firm

Patriot Rail and Ports, an operator of short lines in the United States, was acquired by First State Investments, an Australia-based firm that has invested in infrastructure in Australia, Europe, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, Railway Age reported Aug. 27.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Patriot Rail and Ports operates a portfolio of 12 short-line freight railroads with more than 585 track miles across 14 states in the U.S. Patriot owns a number of properties represented by SMART Transportation Division.

Read the full article here.

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

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