A two-person crew bill has been introduced in the Missouri Legislature, and we’ll need the support of SMART members in the region to help get the legislation passed.
H.B. 2229 was introduced January 16 by state Rep. Jim Neely (District 8), a Republican who is also a medical doctor. The bill, a joint effort of SMART-TD and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, has had two readings by members of the House and now sits on the desk of Speaker Elijah Haahr awaiting a committee assignment so a hearing can take place.
“We need your help to pressure Speaker Haahr to assign H.B. 2229 to a committee and move it forward,” SMART-TD Missouri State Legislative Director Jason Hayden said. “Phone calls and emails into his office asking him to move this bill are what we need. Calls and emails to your representative to explain the two-person crew issue are also very important.”
Speaker Haahr’s office phone number is 573-751-2210. His email address is Elijah.Haahr@house.mo.gov.
Hayden wanted to give special credit to Stacey Garton, the wife of BNSF conductor Glen Garton of TD Local 259 in St. Joseph, Mo. Her efforts and the grassroots support given by fellow members of the Facebook page Fight for Two Person Crews helped her to approach Neely. She then connected Hayden and BLET State Legislative Chairman Calvin Groose with Neely so that the bill could be finalized before introduction.
“It was not hard for Rep. Neely to understand the grave situation it not only puts the single employee in but also the general public,” Hayden said about the dangers of one-person freight operations. “He was actually not on my radar as someone to approach about carrying the bill for us. But this situation goes to show allies can come from the most unexpected places. It really is all about how an issue touches someone.”
A great show of support from union members and their family and friends in Missouri in contacting their state legislators will help to show the Show Me State that H.B. 2229 matters for the continued safety of both rail workers and for the public.
Members wanting to assist in the effort to get the word out about this important legislation and to have their voices heard can contact Hayden at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We have the numbers to make this happen, we just need your help to accomplish it,” he said.