November election all about saving middle-class

If you’re part of a working family and attracted to some of the positions of the Tea Party, you had best check the bait for a barbed hook intended to reel-in labor unions, government-provided benefits such as Railroad Retirement, Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance, and workplace safety protection. That was the unvarnished message from U.S. […]

OSHA reiterates zero tolerance for worker retaliation

Here we go again – or should we say, again and again and again and again. This time it is Canadian National’s Illinois Central Railroad and short line Chicago, Ft. Wayne & Eastern Railroad that have been hit with more than $650,000 in sanctions by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for […]

Update on congressional funding for Amtrak

Here is an update on federal funding to keep Amtrak operating. The House of Representatives in June approved a transportation funding bill — for the 12-month fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 — that includes $1.8 billion for Amtrak (H.R. 5972). This is an almost $400 million increase over fiscal-year 2012 funding that ends Sept. […]

FRA, OSHA to coordinate safety complaints

Following almost 1,000 complaints from rail workers that they were improperly disciplined for reporting injuries or unsafe working conditions, the Federal Railroad Administration and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have forged an alliance to bring more pressure on railroads to stop the pattern of harassment and intimidation. “The safety of railroad employees depends on […]

Railroad Retirement fund solvent and healthy

The Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) has reported to Congress that, barring a sudden, unanticipated, large drop in railroad employment or substantial investment losses, it will experience no cash-flow problems over the next 23 years.  The report recommended no change in the rate of tax imposed by current law on employers and employees.  The RRB is […]

Coal vital to America’s energy future

By James Stem, UTU National Legislative Director –  Coal is America’s most abundant source of energy, helping reduce our nation’s dependence on imported oil. Coal also means jobs, with almost one in every five freight rail jobs dependent on transporting coal. And coal means high-paying jobs for coal miners, power plant workers and the building trades, […]

Texas shortline pact out for ratification vote

Train, engine and mechanical forces represented by the UTU on shortline Western Rail Road in Texas are voting on a tentative new agreement reached with mediation assistance from the National Mediation Board. An October tentative agreement was rejected by affected members, leading to participation of the NMB in this renewed round of negotiations. Affected members will be […]

UTU assisting in NS derailment investigation

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The UTU Transportation Safety Team is assisting the National Transportation Safety Board in investigating a fiery explosion following a Norfolk Southern derailment here July 11. Sixteen of 98 cars carrying ethanol, corn syrup and grain left the tracks around 2 a.m. There were no injuries among the crew, but two nearby residents […]

Santa Cruz bus operators ratify new contracts

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — UTU-represented members employed as bus operators by the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District have become “the highest-paid bus operators in America” following ratification of a new three-year labor agreement, said Bonnie Morr, vice president of the UTU Bus Department. UTU Local 23 members ratified two agreements – the one by bus operators, […]

Training course in handling radioactive rail cargo

A two-day training program on handling radioactive cargo traveling by rail will be conducted by the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Md., Aug. 17-18. The Modular Emergency Response Radiological Transportation Training (MERRTT) course will be taught by officials from the Department of Energy. The course will be taught from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., […]