Posts Tagged ‘Hynes’

Fight for our futures against labor’s enemies

UTU members are stepping up to the plate in the fight to preserve collective bargaining rights, Amtrak, workplace safety, Railroad Retirement, Social Security and Medicare by mounting a counter attack on political extremists intent on destroying organized labor and all it has achieved for working families.

Hundreds of active and retired members — individually and through their locals, general committees and state legislative boards — have contributed to the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund and the UTU PAC.

A $10,000 contribution to the Collective Bargaining Defense Fund was made by Amtrak General Committee of Adjustment 769 and delivered by General Chairperson Roger Lenfest.

In Arizona, , the 292 members of UTU Local 113 in Winslow recently almost doubled their monthly PAC contributions. “They have a lot of pride and they talk about the UTU PAC at every meeting,” said State Legislative Director Greg Hynes. “All the officers of this local are dollar-a-day PAC members or more — and some contribute $50 monthly.”

Three of Local 113’s officers made clear why they are active in the UTU PAC:

Alternate Delegate Chris Todd: “PAC is our political voice. Without it we’re just rolling the dice on our future.”

Local Chairperson Jim Polston: “I was able to convey to our membership the importance of PAC. Once you do that our members are proud to help out.”

Treasurer Mike Branson: “I contribute to our UTU PAC because without action there would be no union.”

In the wake of UTU members — in solidarity with brothers and sisters from other labor organizations — demonstrating against state legislative action to destroy organized labor, anti-labor bills have been slowed and education of the electorate and the media has generated public outrage.

In Wisconsin, six state lawmakers who led the fight to strip public employees of their collective bargaining rights now face a recall election; and an injunction against implementation of the legislation was ordered by a state court, with the law now facing state supreme court review.

In Ohio, a petition drive led by union members placed a similar law as Wisconsin’s on hold pending a voter referendum this fall.

The UTU Collective Bargaining Fund is providing assistance to UTU members who are engaging in demonstrations and other voter outreach activities nationwide.

The UTU PAC, meanwhile, is helping labor-friendly state legislative and congressional candidates prepare to mount challenges against political extremists who have declared war on working families and organized labor.

The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that since 2009, 729 anti-labor bills have been introduced in 48 separate states. In Congress, a bill is pending to invalidate a National Mediation Board ruling that representation elections be decided on the number of votes cast, without counting those not voting as having voted against union membership.

A U.S. Supreme Court decision known as “Citizens United” opened the door to unlimited political donations by corporations for political advertising that will accelerate attacks on organized labor. While labor unions cannot match such donations, labor-union PACs can make a difference on behalf of labor friendly candidates; and our primary strength is in getting out the vote — and then casting ballots — on behalf of labor-friendly candidates.

It is well established that union families are more likely to vote in elections, and the combination of PAC contributions to labor friendly candidates, voter outreach by union members and union families casting votes for union-endorsed candidates is a powerful response to corporate interests and their candidates whose intent is to destroy organized labor.

For more information on the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund, click on the link at the end of this article, and please consider increasing your UTU PAC contributions. If you are not yet a UTU PAC member, please consider joining.

As President Mike Futhey has said, “If you believe in something strong enough, you fight for it. Together, in solidarity, we can and will win this fight and emerge stronger than ever.”

https://smart-union.org/collective-bargaining-defense-fund/

UTU Rail Safety Alert No. 3

Career-ending personal injuries and fatalities have continued to increase in the rail industry.

To educate members on the circumstances of these incidents, and in attempts to avoid them in the future, the UTU Rail Safety Task Force, appointed by International President Mike Futhey, urges that each of you continue to look out for each other and forward your ideas and concerns about workplace safety to them so they may address them.

Interactive communication and “looking out for each other” is imperative to bringing us all home from work in one piece.

To ensure we all go home to our families in one piece, the UTU Rail Safety Task Force asks for a 100 percent commitment to rules compliance and to the following eight activities:

  1. Job briefings: Ensure all crew members are present for job briefings, and focus on risk assessment.
  2. Situational awareness: Constantly be aware of your surroundings and maintain situational awareness to avoid risks associated with the required tasks and work within the limits of your capabilities.
  3. On/off standing equipment: Keep hands free of other objects and maintain three point contact, always being vigilant for equipment movement.
  4. Avoid slips, trips and falls: Keep your eyes on the footpath and report any unsafe walking conditions to your local legislative representative for handling.
  5. Radio communications: Always use proper identification, provide car counts when shoving, do not engage in excessive chatter; use “over and out.”
  6. Put safety first: Performing a task safety is more important than the time it takes to complete it. The only “good move” is one done 100 percent by the rules.
  7. Ask questions: If any uncertainty arises, take the time to ask questions. Do not take risks or assume anything.
  8. Be in charge of your own safety: Do not let others set YOUR level of safety. Report harassment and intimidation.

For more information on the UTU Rail Safety Task Force, and to communicate with the task force, visit the task force’s interactive Web page by clicking:

this link

In solidarity,

UTU Rail Safety Task Force
Greg Hynes, UTU assistant Arizona state legislative director
Steve Evans, UTU Arkansas state legislative director
Jerry Gibson, UTU Michigan state legislative director
Scott Olson, UTU Arizona state legislative director

UTU Rail Safety Alert No. 2

This is the second in a series of safety alerts issued by the UTU Rail Safety Task Force.

The task force was appointed by International President Mike Futhey in response to a spike in railroad on-duty employee fatalities.

This safety alert focuses on the job of protecting the point while riding rail cars.

In such situations, here are facts to consider and questions to ask yourself as part of assuring you return home to your family in one piece:

  • Are you controlling the movement to really allow stopping within half the range of vision? Are you really protecting yourself?
  • Have you considered walking as a safer alternative in some cases?
  • From how far away can you see a one-inch gap in switch points? In daylight, it’s about 130 feet, at most. And the average railroad issued lantern casts light for approximately 70 feet
  • Do you know how many feet per second are you moving at 10 mph? The answer is 15-feet per SECOND; and at 8 mph, it is about 12-feet per second.
  • Now contemplate that you are protecting the point during daylight, with a single engine shoving 10 loaded lumber cars on flat grade at 15 mph. Now, you see a gapped switch. It will take you 8.6 seconds to stop.
  • If you are shoving too fast,, are you rolling the dice?
  • Now contemplate what would happen if the shoving movement at 15 mph were a crossover lined into a cut of cars, or a car left out to foul.
  • In such a situation should you consider stopping the movement and walking ahead to inspect and protect?
  • There have, recently, been a great number of shoving-related fatalities and career ending injuries in our industry. Please be careful. Always maintain situational awareness. It’s very dangerous out there, and your family wants you back home in one piece.

In solidarity,

UTU Rail Safety Task Force

Greg Hynes, UTU assistant Arizona state legislative director
Steve Evans, UTU Arkansas state legislative director
Jerry Gibson, UTU Michigan state legislative director
Scott Olson, UTU Arizona state legislative director

For more information on the UTU Rail Safety Task Force, visit the task force’s interactive Web page by clicking:

http://utu.org/utu-rail-safety-task-force/

July 3, 2009

UTU Rail Safety Alert No. 1 (revised)

UTU Rail Safety Alert No. 1 (revised)

(Following is the first safety alert, revised June 22, issued by the UTU’s recently appointed Rail Safety Task Force.

UTU International President Mike Futhey appointed the task force in response to a sharp spike in railroad on-duty employee fatalities.

The UTU and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen also have petitioned the Federal Railroad Administration for an emergency order to prohibit the use by railroads of one-person operating crews, including in remote control operations.)

SAFETY ALERT NO. 1 (revised)

While the UTU has consistently taken exception to single-person operations, in reality it exists today. Accordingly, our members should be aware of the safest course in an unsafe situation.

UTU members working in single-person operations are strongly encouraged to question any order by a railroad official to perform any activities that may result in an injury, loss of limb or life — short of insubordination.

If your request to be relieved of such a task is denied, please immediately contact your local chairperson, general chairperson, local legislative representative or state legislative director for further handling.

In doing so, document these actions as soon as you are able, providing as much information as possible, including witnesses, times, dates, locations and names of all involved.

Following is the proper procedure to handle any types of incidents you feel cannot be safely accomplished by a one-person operation:

1) Call for help, such as a utility employee and/or the mechanical department to assist with the function while the RCO operator maintains control of the RCL transmitter (belt pack) and provides three-step protection. All blue flag rules still apply.

Following are FRA regulations relating to the functions of a “utility employee.”

A utility employee properly attached to a train or yard crew, per the requirements of 49 CFR 218.22(c)(1), (2), (3) and (4), may go on, under or between rolling equipment that the crew is called to operate to perform any of the six functions permitted by 49 CFR 218.22(c)(5), without blue signal protection.

The following are the only six functions permitted:

  1. Set or release hand brakes.
  2. Couple or uncouple air hoses and other electrical or mechanical connections.
  3. Prepare rail cars for coupling. (This means opening knuckles, adjusting drawbars, arranging air hoses etc. It does not mean making repairs, such as changing a knuckle or replacing an air hose.)
  4. Set wheel blocks or wheel chains.
  5. Conduct air brake tests to include cutting air brake components in or out and position retaining valves.
  6. Inspect, test, install, remove or replace a rear-end marking device or end-of-train device.

Under all other circumstances, a utility employee working on, under, or between railroad rolling equipment must be provided with blue signal protection in accordance with §§ 218.23 through 218.30 of Subpart B to Part 218.

2) If help is not available, notify management that you are concerned the function you are being required to perform is unsafe, and that you would prefer not to perform the function.

3) If the carrier official (supervisor, manager) insists that you perform the unsafe function anyway, tell him/her you feel this would place your personal safety in jeopardy and ask that they reconsider your request.

4) If the carrier official denies your request, perform the function as instructed, taking every safety protection available, including:

  • Making sure everyone working on both ends of the yard knows where you are, and that you are about to be on your own under or between cars on the track and without blue-flag protection.
  • Make sure the belt pack is set to prevent the locomotive from moving.
  • Secure cars on a cut located on the oppose side of where the locomotive is attached (to prevent rollback).
  • Keep a constant eye and ear out for any movement whatsoever.
  • Keep the belt pack on, to ensure the man-down feature is operable (or as near as safely possible without creating a tripping hazard), just in case it’s needed.

5) After being required to perform the function, report these occurrences to you local legislative representative, safety chairpersons and local chairpersons.

In solidarity,

UTU Rail Safety Task Force

Greg Hynes, UTU assistant Arizona state legislative director
Steve Evans, UTU Arkansas state legislative director
Jerry Gibson, UTU Michigan state legislative director
Scott Olson, UTU Arizona state legislative director

For more information on the UTU Rail Safety Task Force and its mission, click here:

https://smart-union.org/safety/smart-rail-safety-task-force/