Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers Mourns the passing of Richard Trumka

Statement from SMART on the passing of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka:

On this hard and difficult day, our thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues of Richard Trumka. President of the AFL-CIO since 2009, Trumka brought with him his immense reserve of experience, grit and know-how from his time as secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO and as president of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA).

A third-generation coal miner from western Pennsylvania, he began working in the mines at age 19 and supported himself while studying for his law degree at Villanova University. In 1982, he became president of the UMWA, where he fought tirelessly for mine workers.

He dedicated his life’s work to creating a nation that would leave no worker behind and serve as a society that rewards hard work. Richard Trumka never forgot who he was working for, nor did he forget the working-class principals for which he was fighting.

SMART joins our brothers and sisters across the labor movement and working people across the United States — and around the world — in mourning his loss.  His life’s work will continue, as we all continue the fight to ensure the hard work and sacrifices made by America’s working families are rewarded.

Trumka was a keynote speaker at the 2019 SMART General Convention. Click below to view a highlight from his address to more than 1200 convention delegates.

Three Field Support forums scheduled to answer Local S&T questions

Join the SMART_TD Field Support Department with your questions and get them answered!

Each session will begin with going over anything new, reminders or important tips or tricks. Then the floor will be open for all your questions. The forum will end when there are no more questions.

There is no need to pre-register for these Q&A forums. Join us by clicking the link for the session. Forums will be hosted using Microsoft Teams. If you have not joined us for a session in the past visit this page for info on how to get Teams set up prior to the forum. (Start with #3) You can also join by phone using the call-in phone number and Conference ID.

Wednesday August 25th 1 p.m. EST
Join on your computer or mobile app.
Or call in (audio only) +1 440-462-0346
Phone Conference ID: 978 528 22#

Wednesday September 22nd 3 p.m. EST
Join on your computer or mobile app.
Or call in (audio only) +1 440-462-0346
Phone Conference ID: 713 462 91#

THE ACADEMY OF RAIL LABOR ATTORNEYS: Protecting the FELA Through Experienced Legal Counsel

Over the past few years, some law firms who handle mass torts and advertise on a national scale through television and social media have focused their mass marketing on active and retired railroaders who have been afflicted with various forms of cancer and repetitive trauma orthopedic injuries. These firms represent to the public that they are “FELA specialists” with years of experience litigating against the rail industry and, not surprisingly, have generated a substantial client base. Numerous claims have been filed in various courts around the country with an underlying strategy of trying to overwhelm various railroads to the point of forcing settlement of all claims.

But, in reality, the attorneys handling these claims are neither members of ARLA nor railroad union Designated Legal Counsel. A path of destruction has ensued as the railroads have chosen fight over flight in addressing this onslaught of FELA claims. Just a few case examples include:

Holmes v. Union Pacific Railroad, Case No. SC98673 (Mo. 2021) – The Missouri Supreme Court affirmed dismissal of wrongful death FELA cancer case for counsel’s “carelessness, inattention, and deliberate disregard” in failing to timely appoint a personal representative of decedent’s estate as required under the FELA.

Wilant v. BNSF Ry. Co., Case No. N17C-10-365 (Del. Super. 2020) – FELA bladder cancer case dismissed on summary judgment following Daubert ruling striking plaintiff’s general medical causation expert.

Harder v. Union Pacific Railroad, Case No. 8:18-cv-58 (D. Neb. 2020) – Machinist diagnosed with NHL, FELA case dismissed on summary judgment following Daubert ruling striking plaintiff’s medical causation expert.

Kosin v. Union Pacific Railroad, Case No. 4:17-cv-2435 (E.D. Mo. 2019) – FELA bladder, lung and prostate cancer case dismissed on summary judgment as time-barred under FELA 3-year statute of limitations following decision by counsel to withdraw allegations that death was caused by exposures at the railroad.

Collins v. BNSF Ry. Co., Case No. 4:17-cv-3572 (S.D. Tx. 2019) – TY&E employee diagnosed with colon cancer, FELA case dismissed on summary judgment following Daubert ruling striking plaintiff’s industrial hygienist and medical causation experts.

York v. BNSF Ry. Co., Case No. 1:17-cv-1088 (D. Colo. 2019) – TY&E employee diagnosed with bladder cancer, FELA case dismissed on summary judgment following Daubert ruling striking plaintiff’s medical causation expert.

These cases all resulted in court losses for the plaintiffs, families not being made whole and moreover established negative precedents for future cases. The clients in the end sadly paid the price of these so-called FELA “experts” whose advertising presence dwarfed than experience in handling railroad-related cases.

If bringing a case against a carrier, the best and most effective choice is to engage a member of the Academy of Rail Labor Attorneys or a union-endorsed Designated Legal Counsel. They have been vetted by rail labor organizations, have proven experience, follow strict codes of conduct and will commit to giving each and every FELA case the precise focus it deserves while fighting for the best outcome for clients.

A list of SMART-TD Designated Legal Counsel can be found here.
More information about the Academy of Rail Labor Attorneys.

Local 58 opens new training facility

SMART SM Local 58 in Syracuse, N.Y., recently dedicated its new 8,700-square-foot training facility to retired instructors Angelo Massa and Charles Morehouse, naming it the Massa/Morehouse Training Facility. The state-of-the-art facility now offers training in heating, ventilation, air conditioning, architectural sheet metal, welding, specialty stainless steel work, custom fabrication, service, siding and decking, testing and balancing, and energy management and maintenance.

Angelo Massa, left, and Charles Morehouse.

Amit Bose nominated to be FRA administrator

Amit Bose, who has been serving the Biden administration as acting administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) since February, was formally nominated to become administrator of that body April 22.

Amit Bose has been nominated to lead the FRA.

Bose has years of experience serving in the public sector. He has served two stints as FRA deputy administrator, and has served as FRA chief counsel, USDOT associate general counsel and USDOT deputy assistant secretary for governmental affairs. While in the Obama administration, Bose worked on High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail grants for projects on the Northeast Corridor and has a longtime association with the corridor.

In addition to living along the corridor in West Windsor, N.J., and working for New Jersey Transit, Bose helped establish and later served on the Northeast Corridor Commission. He also participated in structuring the commission’s cost allocation policy, helped the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) deliver a $2.5 billion Railroad Rehabilitation and Infrastructure Financing (RRIF) loan to Amtrak for its next generation of Acela rail cars, and worked on the environmental review of a number of projects.

Read the announcement from the White House.

Local 73 Partners with IL Township and Jewel-Osco to Provide COVID-19 Vaccination Site

Photos by Dave Sylvester, Local 73

Hillside, Ill. – SMART SM Local 73 is partnering with Proviso Township and Jewel-Osco to provide added capacity for COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts, with its union hall functioning as a vaccine injection site. More than 1400 vaccines were administered today between 9am and 4pm at the local hall in Hillside, just west of downtown Chicago, for residents of any of the 15 villages in Proviso Township.

“This wouldn’t be happening in Hillside today without Local 73 stepping up and helping out,” said Hillside Mayor Joseph Tamburino, who was at the vaccination site throughout the day. “They set the room up and did everything we asked them to do and it’s fantastic. Their facility is just perfect for this.”

The union hall effectively functioned as a one-day pop-up vaccine clinic. The site was thoroughly cleaned and prepped ahead of time and a sanitation crew will be coming Monday night and doing a deep clean of the space.

“This wouldn’t be happening in Hillside today without Local 73 stepping up and helping out.”

– Hillside (Ill.) Mayor Joseph Tamburino

“We are proud to partner with Proviso Township, Jewel-Osco and Mayor Tamburino to provide a safe, convenient location for members of our community to receive their vaccine,” said Local 73 President and Business Manager Raymond Suggs. He added that the local is looking to help with additional vaccination days in coming weeks, depending on vaccine availability.

Nationally, SMART is part of a coordinated effort by U.S. building trades unions to make their facilities available to President Biden’s COVID-19 Relief Task Force for U.S. vaccine distribution. In February, the Governing Board of Presidents of North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) voted unanimously to offer more than 5,000 union halls and training centers to the vaccine distribution effort.

Video: The Benefits of American Rescue Plan for SMART Members

In this month’s video address from SMART General President Joseph Sellers, he looks at the recent passage of the American Rescue Plan.

The plan does more than provide direct cash relief through payments to working Americans and resources for COVID-19 vaccination efforts. This critical legislation also provides long-sought help for multiemployer pension plans, puts Amtrak members back to work, boosts transit funding, provides COBRA assistance to jobless workers and funds a round of mitigation efforts to help get America’s schoolchildren back in the classroom through funds for air system monitoring and new HVAC retrofit work that will create sheet metal jobs.

 

SMART IL Locals Delivering Three Truckloads of Water to Texans in Need

SMART Local 20 Ships $2k in Plumbing Supplies to TX Members

CAROL STREAM, IL – SMART Illinois Locals 73, 219 and 265 have organized a “Texas water drive” to gather donations of bottled water and ship truckloads to families in Texas who lack access to clean water in the wake of the state’s recent winter storms and power outages.

As Texas’ power grid collapsed during frigid temperatures, causing some households to also lose access to clean water due to interrupted supplies or burst pipes, SMART Local 265 members began asking what they could do to help. They communicated with other members of the union in Texas and were told people needed clean water more than anything else.

“I hope it helps them with a small amount of relief to have the very basic necessity of water,” said Tom Syron, a Local 265 journeyperson who lives in Plainfield, Ill. Syron reached out to his local union president to see what they could do to assist and then helped spearhead the relief effort.

Local 265, which represents members serving the collar counties outside of Lake and Cook in Northeastern Illinois, launched a social media campaign to raise awareness of the specific need for water among its Texas members, as well as the community at large, and began to solicit donations. In less than 48 hours, the union mobilized to secure 16 pallets of water and two 26-foot trucks. Local 73 soon joined the effort, filling a third truck with donated water bottles. The three trucks rolled out from the Chicago suburbs for Texas early Wednesday morning, carrying a total of more than 30,000 bottles.

In Indiana, SMART Local 20 members purchased and donated more than $2,000 in residential plumbing supplies and fittings and shipped it all to SMART locals in Texas. The supplies will be given to members facing significant plumbing repairs after pipes froze and leaked during power outages.

“I could not be prouder of our members, our friends, our families and local employers that have contributed to this effort,” said SMART Local 265 President/Business Manager John Daniel. “We stand together when our members or communities need support, whether that’s in Illinois, Texas, or elsewhere. Actions like Tom’s make it very clear, the members are the union!”

“We stand together when our members or communities need support, whether that’s in Illinois, Texas, or elsewhere.”

– SMART Local 265 President/
Business Manager John Daniel

Daniel said donations came from hard-working members of the three SMART locals, as well as area employers, including John Hancock (which does recordkeeping for the union’s pension plan), The Dobbs Group of Greystone Consulting, Calibre CPA Group, Segal Consulting and Baum Sigman Auerbach & Neuman LTD.

SMART has more than 14,000 members in Illinois and over 7,500 members in Texas. Last Friday, the union contacted its locals across the country and quickly organized a national peer-to-peer text bank in which individual union activists from outside Texas reached out to members in Texas and asked how they were doing, did they need any help, and if so what would be most helpful. The text banking was critical to assessing what was actually happening on the ground, which Texas communities needed the most help, and where the union could set up staging areas for donated supplies as they arrived.

SMART Celebrates Black History Month

This February, SMART proudly joins with citizens across the United States and Canada to celebrate Black History Month. We honor the contributions of generations of Black scientists, activists, military members, public servants, writers, artists and more who have helped build our nations, shaped the labor and civil rights movements and worked tirelessly for justice and equality for all.

Blacks have also been groundbreaking labor organizers and developed numerous inventions that had major impacts across our economies, including in the North American rail industry. Here are just a few examples:

  • Andrew Jackson Beard was born a slave in Alabama. He became a railroad employee and introduced two improvements to the automatic railroad car coupler, or Jenny coupler, in 1897 and 1899, after losing a leg using the dangerous link-and-pin coupler. Using interlocking jaws, it was the first automatic coupler that allowed rail workers to avoid having to risk limbs while manually coupling cars. Beard was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio, in 2006 for this achievements.
  • A. Philip Randolph

    A. Philip Randolph was an American labor leader and civil rights activist. In 1925, he organized and led the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first predominantly African-American labor union. In 1963, Randolph was the head of the March on Washington, at which Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech.

  • Stanley Grizzle was born in 1918 in Toronto to Jamaican immigrants. He was elected president of his local of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and pushed the Canadian Pacific Railway to open management ranks to blacks. He was also a leader in Canada’s civil rights movement of the 1950s and worked with the Joint Labour Committee to Combat Racial Intolerance.
  • Garrett Augustus Morgan invented a three-way non-electric automatic semaphore stop sign in 1923, which was the precursor to three-light electric traffic signals.
  • Granville Woods

    Elijah McCoy invented an automatic lubricator for oiling steam engines in 1872. It spread oil evenly over a train’s engine while it was still moving. This invention allowed for trains to run on long trips without stopping.

  • Granville Woods, known as the “Black Edison,” was a railroad fireperson and locomotive engineer who invented a telegraph system in 1887 that was used to communicate between trains and tower telegraphers to advise the distance between moving trains. He also invented overhead electric conducting lines in 1888 — now known as catenary wires; and a railroad air brake in 1902.

This year, Black History Month comes during a global pandemic that has hit minority communities the hardest, and shortly after domestic terrorists, including many self-professed white supremacists, attacked the U.S. Capitol and tried to stop the peaceful transfer of power following a presidential election.

Now, more than ever, our union is dedicated to advocating for both economic and racial justice, and to working for transportation and sheet metal industries that are inclusive and welcoming for all.

We face the challenges posed by the pandemic and by appalling attacks on our democracy the same way we approach shared workplace concerns: By standing together, mobilizing and organizing for a better future.

As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., noted in a December 1961 speech delivered at that year’s AFL-CIO convention, the struggles and challenges of the labor movement are tightly intertwined with those of African Americans and the civil rights movement: “Our needs are identical with labor’s needs: decent wages, fair working conditions, livable housing, old age security, and health and welfare measures…”

Now, more than ever, our union is dedicated to advocating for both economic and racial justice, and to working for transportation and sheet metal industries that are inclusive and welcoming for all.

North American Building Trades Call for President Trump to Step Down Immdiately

The North America’s Building Trades Unions’ (NABTU) President Sean McGarvey released the following statement in response to the mob of domestic terrorists that attacked the U.S. Capitol building during the electoral college certification proceedings:

“Today’s despicable events are unprecedented, and, as we have all seen, are extremely dangerous. North America’s Building Trades Unions call on President Trump to immediately step down and transfer power per the Constitution and the Presidential Succession Act of 1947. If he refuses, the Cabinet must immediately invoke the 25th amendment to remove the President. Any less action by the Cabinet, and America should consider them all coconspirators.

“We also call on Senators Cruz and Hawley to immediately resign along with the twelve other U.S. Senators and the 140 House members objecting to the Electoral College certification. They all must step down immediately.

“We call on a bipartisan commission to investigate and identify all planners, funders, and coordinators of this attempted coup and refer them to prosecution by the U.S. Justice Department, and further for them to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

“If these actions are not taken immediately, in anticipation of what is already one of the worst domestic episodes in our country’s history, things could get much worse over the next 14 days very quickly. Thus, we urge all law-abiding Americans to stand up and demand the same to protect our precious democracy from tyrants and thugs.”

The North America’s Building Trades Unions is an alliance of 14 national and international unions in the building and construction industry that collectively represent over 3 million skilled craft professionals in the United States and Canada. Each year, our unions and our signatory contractor partners invest over $1.6 billion in private-sector money to fund and operate over 1,900 apprenticeship training and education facilities across North America that produce the safest, most highly trained, and productive, skilled craft workers found anywhere in the world. NABTU is dedicated to creating economic security and employment opportunities for its construction workers by safeguarding wage and benefits standards, promoting responsible private capital investments, investing in renowned apprenticeship and training, and creating pathways to the middle class for women, communities of color and military veterans in the construction industry.

FRA roundup – several actions published in Federal Register

Over the past 1.5 weeks, the Federal Railroad Administration has published several notices in the Federal Register. Below are portions of those postings, including: Drug and alcohol testing: Determination of minimum random testing rates for 2021 (notification of determination); Qualification and certification of locomotive engineers – miscellaneous revisions (final rule); Positive train control systems (notice of proposed rulemaking); and Fatigue risk management programs for certain passenger and freight railroads (notice of proposed rulemaking).


Drug and alcohol testing: Determination of minimum random testing rates for 2021 (notification of determination) – (published 12/15/2020)

Supplementary information:

FRA is announcing the 2021 minimum annual random drug and alcohol testing rates for covered service and MOW employees. For calendar year 2021, the minimum annual random testing rates for covered service employees will continue to be 25% for drugs and 10% for alcohol, while the minimum annual random testing rates for MOW employees will continue to be 50% for drugs and will be lowered to 10% for alcohol. Because these rates represent minimums, railroads and contractors may conduct FRA random testing at higher rates.

Discussion:

To set its minimum annual random testing rates for each year, FRA examines the last two complete calendar years of railroad industry drug and alcohol program data submitted to its Management Information System (MIS). FRA has also, however, reserved the right to consider factors other than MIS-reported data before deciding whether to lower annual minimum random testing rates. See 63 FR 71789 (Dec. 30, 1998).

Random testing rates for covered service employees

The rail industry’s random drug testing positive rate for covered service employees (employees subject to the Federal hours of service laws and regulations) remained below 1.0% for 2018 and 2019. The administrator has therefore determined the minimum annual random drug testing rate for the period January 1, 2021, through December 31, 2021, will remain at 25% for covered service employees. The industry-wide random alcohol testing violation rate for covered service employees remained below 0.5% for 2018 and 2019. Therefore, the administrator has determined the minimum random alcohol testing rate will remain at 10% for covered service employees for the period January 1, 2021, through December 31, 2021.

Random testing rates for MOW employees

MOW employees became subject to FRA random drug and alcohol testing in June 2017. See 81 FR 37894 (June 10, 2016). FRA now has MIS data for two full consecutive years of the industry-wide performance rates for MOW employees, 2018 and 2019. While FRA may lower the minimum random drug testing rate to 25% whenever the industry-wide random drug positive rate is less than 1.0 percent for two consecutive calendar years while testing at the 50% rate, FRA has reserved the right to consider other factors before deciding whether to lower annual minimum random testing rates. See 63 FR 71789 (Dec. 30, 1998).

As illustrated in the figures in the appendix below, in contrast to the drug testing positive rate for covered service employees that remained substantially below 1.0% for 2018 and 2019, the random drug testing positive rate for MOW employees is not only trending upwards, but also approaching the 1.0% positive rate threshold at which point the administrator will raise the drug testing rate under 49 CFR 219.625(d)(2). Specifically, the industry-wide random drug testing violation rate for MOW employees increased from 0.69% in 2018 to 0.8% in 2019, and MOW employees continue to have a higher positive testing rate than covered service employees.[1The Administrator further notes that MOW employees who were performing duties for a railroad before June 12, 2017, were exempted from the pre-employment drug testing requirement. See 49 CFR 219.501(e). As such, some MOW employees may remain who have never been subject to FRA drug testing because they have not yet been randomly selected.

Taking these factors into consideration, the administrator finds it is currently not in the interest of railroad safety to lower the random drug testing rate for MOW employees. Therefore, for the period January 1, 2021, through December 31, 2021, the administrator has determined that the minimum annual random drug testing rate will continue to be 50% for MOW employees.

Because the random alcohol testing violation rate for MOW employees remained substantially below 0.5% for 2018 and 2019, and has been trending downwards, the administrator has determined that the minimum annual random alcohol testing rate will be lowered to 10% for MOW employees for the period January 1, 2021, through December 31, 2021.

 Click here to read the full notice as published in the Federal Register.


Qualification and certification of locomotive engineers; miscellaneous revisions (final rule) – published 12/15/2020

Summary:

FRA is revising its regulation governing the qualification and certification of locomotive engineers to make it consistent with its regulation for the qualification and certification of conductors. The changes include: Amending the program submission process; handling engineer and conductor petitions for review with a single FRA review board (Operating Crew Review Board or OCRB); and revising the filing requirements for petitions to the OCRB. To ensure consistency throughout its regulations, FRA is also making conforming amendments to its regulations governing the control of alcohol and drug use, and the qualification and certification of conductors. The changes would reduce regulatory burdens on the railroad industry while maintaining the existing level of safety.

Dates:

This regulation is effective January 14, 2021.

Executive Summary

On May 9, 2019, FRA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 240, Qualification and Certification of Locomotive Engineers (part 240).[1In response to that NPRM, FRA received three written comments.

This final rule responds to those comments and amends part 240 by: Making part 240 more consistent with the language in 49 CFR part 242, Qualification and Certification of Conductors (part 242); creating two provisions under which railroads may issue temporary locomotive engineer certifications; merging FRA’s locomotive engineer and conductor review boards; adopting aspects of part 242 for locomotive engineer certification; providing labor representatives with the ability to provide input on a railroad’s part 240 program; and allowing for and encouraging the use of electronic document submission of a railroad’s part 240 program. This final rule also makes technical amendments to part 242 to: (1) Make the requirement for calibration of audiometers used during hearing tests for conductors the same as the requirement in part 240 for locomotive engineers; and (2) conform the definition of “main track” in part 242 to the definition of “main track” in part 240.

Additionally, this final rule makes conforming amendments to title 49 CFR part 219, Control of Alcohol and Drug Use (part 219) to update two cross-references to part 240. Updating these references is necessary to ensure consistency between part 219 and part 240, as amended.

The final rule will create new costs. First, each locomotive engineer certification manager will need to review the amendments made to part 240 to ensure compliance is maintained. Second, amendments to part 240 will require each railroad to provide a copy of its part 240 plan to the president of each labor organization whenever the railroad files a submission, resubmission, or makes a material modification to its plan. Third, a railroad will need to maintain service records for certified locomotive engineers who are not performing service that requires locomotive engineer certification. For the 20-year period of analysis, the cost of the final rule will be $233,779 (undiscounted), $171,764 (PV 7%), and $200,775 (PV 3%).

The final rule will also create cost savings. First, adding clarity in part 240 and conforming language in part 240 to part 242 will reduce stakeholder burden related to review and compliance with part 240. Second, it will reduce the burden on a railroad when providing another railroad with information about a former employee’s prior service records. Third, it will update the program submission process to allow for electronic document submission, which will reduce stakeholder paperwork and submission costs related to part 240 program submissions and locomotive engineer certification petitions. Fourth, it will remove the requirement for railroads to obtain a waiver from the annual testing requirements for certified locomotive engineers who are not performing service that requires certification. For the 20-year period of analysis, the cost savings of the final rule will be $12.3 million (undiscounted), $6.9 million (PV 7%), and $9.4 million (PV 3%).

As shown in Table ES.1, the regulatory evaluation quantifies the economic impact of the final rule in terms of cost savings and new costs accruing to stakeholders. For the 20-year period of analysis, the final rule will result in a net cost savings of $12.0 million (undiscounted), $6.8 million (PV 7%), and $9.2 million (PV 3%). This final rule is an Executive Order (E.O.) 13771 deregulatory action. Details on the estimated costs of this final rule can be found in the rule’s economic analysis.

(Click here to view table).

The final rule will create benefits. First, the final rule will amend the part 240 program submission process to require railroads to solicit labor input, providing for fully informed decisions by railroads. Second, it affords railroads additional time and flexibility to comply with some regulatory requirements. Third, it creates certain provisions that allow for temporary locomotive engineer certificates. Fourth, electronic filing will make information more accessible to interested stakeholders and the public. Because FRA lacks sufficient information related to these four benefits, this analysis could not accurately quantify these benefits. Therefore, the rule’s economic analysis qualitatively explains benefits.

The final rule will also reduce Governmental administrative costs, including mailing, filing, and storing costs related to amendments to part 240, by allowing the Government and stakeholders to transmit and store documents electronically.

This is just a small portion of the actual notice in the Federal Register. Click here to read the full final rule as published in the Federal Register.


Positive train control systems (notice of proposed rulemaking) – published 12/18/2020

Summary:

FRA is proposing to revise its regulations governing changes to positive train control (PTC) systems and reporting on PTC system functioning. First, recognizing that the railroad industry intends to enhance further FRA-certified PTC systems to continue improving rail safety and PTC technology’s reliability and operability, FRA proposes to modify the process by which a host railroad must submit a request for amendment (RFA) to FRA before making certain changes to its PTC Safety Plan (PTCSP) and FRA-certified PTC system. Second, to enable more effective FRA oversight, FRA proposes to: Expand an existing reporting requirement by increasing the frequency from annual to biannual; broaden the reporting requirement to encompass positive performance-related information, not just failure-related information; and require host railroads to utilize a new, standardized Biannual Report of PTC System Performance (Form FRA F 6180.152). Overall, the proposed amendments would benefit the railroad industry, the public, and FRA, by reducing unnecessary costs, facilitating innovation, and improving FRA’s ability to oversee PTC system performance and reliability, while not negatively affecting rail safety.

Dates:

Written comments must be received by February 16, 2021. FRA believes a 60-day comment period is appropriate to allow the public to comment on this proposed rule. FRA will consider comments received after that date to the extent practicable.

Addresses:

Comments: Comments related to Docket No. FRA-2019-0075 may be submitted by going to http://www.regulations.gov and following the online instructions for submitting comments.

Instructions: All submissions must include the agency name, docket number (FRA-2019-0075), and Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) for this rulemaking (2130-AC75). All comments received will be posted without change to https://www.regulations.gov;​ this includes any personal information. Please see the Privacy Act heading in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document for Privacy Act information related to any submitted comments or materials.

Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to https://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for accessing the docket.

This is just a small portion of the actual notice in the Federal Register. Click here to read the full notice of proposed rulemaking as published in the Federal Register.


Fatigue risk management programs for certain passenger and freight railroads (notice of proposed rulemaking) – published 12/22/2020

Summary:

Pursuant to the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, FRA proposes to issue regulations requiring certain railroads to develop and implement a Fatigue Risk Management Program, as one component of the railroads’ larger railroad safety risk reduction programs.

Dates:

Written comments must be received by February 22, 2021. Comments received after that date will be considered to the extent practicable without incurring additional expense or delay.

Addresses:

Comments related to Docket No. FRA-2015-0122 may be submitted by going to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for submitting comments.

Instructions: All submissions must include the agency name, docket name and docket number or Regulatory Identification Number (RIN) for this rulemaking (2130-AC54). Note that all comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. Please see the Privacy Act heading in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document for Privacy Act information on any submitted comments or materials.

Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov.

Introduction and Executive Summary:

Purpose of Rulemaking

This proposed rule is part of FRA’s efforts to improve rail safety continually and to satisfy the statutory mandate of Section 103 of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA).[1That section, codified at 49 U.S.C. 20156, requires Class I railroads; railroad carriers with inadequate safety performance (ISP), as determined by the Secretary; and railroad carriers that provide intercity rail passenger or commuter rail passenger transportation to develop and implement a safety risk reduction program to improve the safety of their operations. The section further requires a railroad’s safety risk reduction program to include a “fatigue management plan” meeting certain requirements.

This proposed rule, if finalized, would fulfill RSIA’s mandate for railroads to include fatigue management plans in their safety risk reduction programs by requiring railroads to develop and implement Fatigue Risk Management Programs (FRMPs).[2As proposed, a railroad would implement its FRMP through an FRMP plan.

Under this proposed rule, consistent with the mandate of Section 20156, an FRMP is a comprehensive, system-oriented approach to safety in which a railroad determines its fatigue risk by identifying and analyzing applicable hazards and takes action to mitigate, if not eliminate, that fatigue risk.[3As proposed, a railroad would be required to prepare a written FRMP plan and submit it to FRA for review and approval. A railroad’s written FRMP plan would become part of its existing safety risk reduction program plan. A railroad would also be required to implement its FRA-approved FRMP plan, conduct an internal annual assessment of its FRMP, and consistent with Section 20156’s mandate, update its FRMP plan periodically. As part of a railroad safety risk reduction program, a railroad’s FRMP would also be subject to assessments by FRA.

This is just a small portion of the actual notice in the Federal Register. Click here to read the full notice of proposed rulemaking as published in the Federal Register.

 

Mooney Appointed to SMART GEC

Mike Mooney is in his 34th year as a SMART sheet metal worker. He started his Sheet Metal career in 1986, finished his 5-year Apprenticeship in 1991 and worked with the tools as a Foreman until 2000. In 2000, he was appointed as a Local 18 Union Organizer and continued in this position until 2005. In 2005, the membership elected Mike as their Milwaukee Area #6 Business Representative where he continued in this position until 2013. In 2013, he was elected to the Statewide position of Financial Secretary/Treasurer for Local 18 and he continued in this position until 2018 when he was elected as the President/Business Manager for Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 18 and he continues in this capacity today.

In 2018, Mike was also appointed as a member of the National Joint Adjustment Board (NJAB) and has also served on many committees for the International. In 2019, Mike was appointed to the Executive Board of Building Advantage. Building Advantage is a Labor Management council that promotes union construction in Southeastern Wisconsin. The Building Advantage Executive Board is made up of six labor and six management representatives, along with six industry advisors solving issues of mutual concern, promote use of union construction and recruitment of the future workforce.