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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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:
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.
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
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.
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
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.
In order to alleviate significant expense and wasteful distribution of timebooks, all locals must complete a timebook order form for the year 2020 and return it to the SMART TD office by Monday, Sept. 16, 2019.
It’s important that the form is completed by a local officer, even if the local does not desire to receive the books (just note “0” on the quantity requested line and return). All locals will be contacted if a form is not received to ensure accurate ordering this fall. You may return the form — available on the TD website — by any one of the methods listed below.
Via mail to:
ATTN: Dora Wolf
24950 Country Club Blvd, Ste. 340
North Olmsted, OH 44070 – 5333
A confirmation email will be sent to acknowledge receipt of your order – if you do not receive the email within 10 days of your order being submitted, please contact Dora by calling the TD office at 216-228-9400.
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.
SAN DIEGO, Calif. — In closing remarks to the SMART Transportation Division Regional Meeting July 3, TD President John Previsich said that recent actions of government agencies under the umbrella of the federal Department of Transportation will not go unchallenged.
Actions by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regarding safety issues have shown that those agencies have stepped away from their duties of overseeing the safety of communities and of the nation’s transportation workers, he said.
SMART Transportation Division President John Previsich addresses the closing session of the San Diego Regional Meeting at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel on July 3.
The FRA’s withdrawal of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in May plus a similar action within days by the FMCSA that withdrew a notice regarding bus operator safety is a starting point to what will be a challenging period for our union, Previsich said.
All options, including litigation, are being explored to challenge what Previsich had described in testimony before a U.S. House Subcommittee as FRA’s abdication of its safety oversight responsibilities by withdrawing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding minimum crew size. Attorneys general from every state that have implemented legislation requiring two-person freight crews are being invited to join with labor to protect the state laws.
The effort will address FRA’s abuse of authority by withdrawing the NPR, ignoring the comments that were overwhelmingly in favor of a two-person crew rule and the agency’s attempt to pre-empt state laws. It will be a “concerted” effort with other labor organizations.
Previsich said that the union is planning on a multi-faceted approach to take on FRA while also challenging Congress to pursue legislation to correct FRA’s refusal to oversee safety on the nation’s railroads.
Attendees at the July 3 closing session of the San Diego Regional Meeting listen to TD President John Previsich’s remarks at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel.
State legislative action surrounding two-person rail crews also will be ongoing, he said, and more details of our efforts as well as additional actions for members to take will be communicated in the near future.
“There is going to be a big push coming,” Previsich said. “We are going to reach out to you when the proper time comes and ask for your assistance. I think your members will be proud of their union and where we’re going with this.”
All brothers and sisters should then contact their legislators directly to explain our issues to their U.S. House and Senate representatives, and why the current bills regarding transportation safety are important. An in-person visit, an option advocated by National Legislative Director John Risch during the Regional Meeting’s opening session, helps to personalize and drive these issues home no matter what political party the public official identifies with.
The TD Legislative Action Center is a one-stop repository that has information on federal bills advocating bus and transit operator safety, freight rail crew size and yardmaster safety.
“There’s nothing more important in this environment today — in this political climate that we’re in — that we get access, and we get access through PAC,” Previsich said.
On the second day of the meeting, SMART General President Joseph Sellers, Jr. addressed the new leaders in attendance and encouraged them to take advantage of all resources available to them in both the Washington, D.C., and in the Cleveland offices.
The TD Regional Meeting theme — “Your Union Leading the Way” — was particularly appropriate this year — members “need to understand that ‘Your union’ is our union … 200,000 members are part of our union,” Sellers said. “And ‘leading the way’ means you leading the way, meaning us leading the way meaning leaders and members leading the way.”
In a time of upheaval in the industries that SMART members are employed in, efforts to grow the organization will continue to be a priority, and officers will take an important role in those efforts.
“We must continue to grow. We must organize, organize, organize — internal organizing, external organizing, making sure every worker is a SMART member,” Sellers said.
SMART General President Joseph Sellers, Jr., delivers opening remarks on Tuesday, July 2, the second day of the SMART Transportation Division Regional Meeting in San Diego, Calif.
From all levels of the union, it is up to everyone to take responsibility for the safety of themselves and build and maintain a strong foundation and maintain a powerful and nimble network that can take collective action to protect ourselves and the legacy our union represents, Sellers said.
“I want to make sure that we continue to build that foundation, that we continue to form this union so that future generations will have the same opportunity, enjoy that same representation, enjoy the same benefits of a collective bargaining agreement and enjoy a retirement particularly at a time when many people won’t have a retirement or work pension.”
Support from the SMART Army has brought results — members’ efforts beat back Right to Work For Less legislation in Washington one day after a call for mobilization at the state’s Capitol, and helped to get two-person crew legislation passed in Colorado and Nevada this year. They’ve also mobilized to defend proposed pension changes in Congress.
“As we build that, we will do better,” he said.
To join, text SMART Army to 21333.
In closing the meeting, Previsich announced that the 2020 TD Regional Meeting will be held in its home base of Cleveland, Ohio, at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown from Aug. 24 to 26.
The three-day San Diego meeting at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel featured more than 30 educational workshops intended to assist officers and strengthen our union at every level.
Ohio State Legislative Director Stu Gardner requests that members from his state show their support for H.B. 186, a comprehensive rail safety bill that is receiving its first hearing in the Ohio Legislature on Tuesday, June 18.
Ohio Reps. Brent Hillyer and Michael Sheehy, who is a retired SMART TD member and a member of the TD Alumni Association, will introduce the bill at 11 a.m. to the House Transportation Committee in Room 114 at the statehouse in Columbus.
The bill covers:
Two-person freight train crews
Common-sense safe walkways within rail yards
Common-sense illumination of rail yards
Blocked crossings that obstruct and delays emergency vehicles
“An overwhelming show of support is our goal,” Gardner said. “Show those members of the Transportation Committee that we care and are serious about our safety, and the safety of the communities the we work in and pass through.”
Here’s a quick update on where legislation important to SMART Transportation Division members stands on a national level:
The Safe Freight Act in the U.S. House (H.R. 1748), national two-person crew legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Don Young in March, has 60 co-sponsors consisting of 56 Democrats and 4 Republicans. It has been referred to the House’s Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials.
The Transit Worker and Pedestrian Protection Act has versions in both the U.S. House (H.R. 1139) and in the U.S. Senate (S. 436). It is intended to protect bus and transit operators from assault through various strategies and requires that both rail and bus transit agencies (those not covered by the FRA) create risk-reduction plans to protect operators and that the agencies submit those plans to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for approval. The Senate version has 13 co-sponsors since its introduction in February, while the House version has 145 co-sponsors since its February introduction. The Senate version has been referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, while the House version has been referred to the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.
The Railroad Yardmaster Protection Act of 2019 (H.R. 2449), which covers yardmaster hours of service, was introduced in early May and has two co-sponsors. It has been referred to the House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials.
SMART Transportation Division has a grand slam of a time planned at San Diego’s Petco Park for registered attendees of the 2019 Regional Meeting on the evening of Tuesday, July 2.
Food, fun and baseball will be the name of the game as registered meeting attendees watch the Padres take on the National League West rival San Francisco Giants at the Padres’ home field, a short walk from the host Hilton Bayfront Hotel.
Attendees can feast on summer favorites and ballpark classics from the grill, including barbecue chicken, hot dogs and more on the historic Western Metal Building rooftop (pictured above) in left field. Food and beverage service will begin one hour prior to first pitch at 7:10 p.m. Food service will be available for two hours, and beverages will be available through the seventh inning.
The game can be enjoyed from the Western Metal rooftop, the terrace-level sports bar “The Loft,” or from adjoining seats at “The Rail.” Traditional seats are also available in Sections 226 and 228.
Members will have a chance to mingle and make memories with their guests, families and union brothers and sisters during this exciting night at Petco.
In the carrier’s quarterly earnings call April 18, Union Pacific Chief Operating Officer Jim Vena said that more cuts are being weighed as UP quests for a 61% operating ratio and continues its move toward Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR).
During the call, the carrier also announced a “pause” in the construction of its $550 million Brazos Yard project in Robertson County, Texas, as UP reallocated funds to improve its El Paso, Texas-to-Loa Angeles line.
Vena said there would be more “rationalization” of the carrier’s network and terminals in order to increase train speed and that future hump yard closures are in the planning stages, according to the Supply Chain Dive news website.
UP is a third of the way through its “Unified 2020” plan to implement PSR, Supply Chain Dive’s Emma Cosgrove reported.