FRA grants unions’ request for longer-term extension to file certification petitions

Published: February 12, 2021

CLEVELAND, Ohio, February 12 — In response to a series of joint petitions by the SMART Transportation Division (SMART-TD) and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) on February 11 granted a longer-term waiver, providing a 60-day extension to time limits in which certain petitions for review must be filed with the Operating Crew Review Board (OCRB). Previously, the unions had secured a series of waivers, which date back to April 7, 2020.

Under FRA regulations governing certification of locomotive engineers and conductors, a petition seeking review of a railroad’s decision to deny certification or recertification, or to revoke certification, must be filed with the OCRB no more than 120 days after the date of the railroad’s denial decision. That 120-day time limit now has been extended by an additional sixty (60) days.

In granting the relief under FRA’s standard, non-emergency authority, the Agency stated, “[d]ue to the ongoing and unpredictable nature of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), FRA finds that extending the requested relief is in the public interest and consistent with railroad safety.” The waiver granting a 60-day extension for all petitions for review will expire February 11, 2022, unless subsequently extended, or three (3) months after the FRA Administrator rescinds the existing Emergency Declaration related to COVID-19, whichever is sooner.

A copy of the FRA waiver extension is available here (PDF).

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The SMART Transportation Division is comprised of approximately 125,000 active and retired members of the former United Transportation Union, who work in a variety of crafts in the transportation industry.

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen represents nearly 58,000 professional locomotive engineers and trainmen throughout the United States. The BLET is the founding member of the Rail Conference, International Brotherhood of Teamsters.