Posts Tagged ‘Illinois’

Illinois TD member seeks support in run for re-election to county board

Matt Hanson, alternate legislative representative and trustee for Local 171 (Aurora, Ill.), is continuing his bid to retain his seat on the Kane County Board.

Illinois State Legislative Director Bob Guy, left, and Kane County Board Member Matt Hanson, an officer for SMART-TD Local 171, pose together at an event for Hanson’s re-election campaign.

Hanson, an incumbent seeking a full term, is facing a Democratic primary challenge March 18 and continues to build momentum for a successful campaign with endorsements from the North Central Illinois Labor Council (NCILC) and the Fox Valley Building Trades (FVBT) along with several elected officials since entering the 2020 election cycle.

“I will continue to govern, drive discussion, and vote to support all employees of Kane County whether or not protected through collective bargaining,” Hanson said in an email. “Votes can be cultivated and secured using a variety of means, all of which I look to utilize. I always “do the work” for myself and like-minded candidates when my assistance is requested.”

During this effort, Hanson’s been juggling time serving on the county board, his union officer responsibilities, and his full-time career as a locomotive engineer for BNSF and can use the support of his fellow union brothers and sisters both in Illinois and elsewhere.

He has a fund-raising event scheduled 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 3 at Mike & Denise’s Pizzeria, 1760 N. Farnsworth Ave., Aurora, Ill., 60505, and invites members to come out and support his efforts. Tickets are $25.

“Any help that can be lent is needed and immensely appreciated,” said Hanson. “I am proud to tell everyone encountered on the campaign trail that I am a card-carrying union railroader that belongs to SMART-TD Local 171.”

To contact Hanson and contribute to his campaign, email matt4kane@gmail.com or mail checks to Friends of Matt Hanson, P.O. Box 1101, Aurora, IL 60507.

Carrier sues Illinois to stop two-person crew law

Indiana Rail Road, with the backing of the major rail carrier organizations, has filed suit challenging a law requiring two people on freight crews in Illinois, the Courthouse News Service reported.

“The recent history of railroads confirms the wisdom of FRA’s expert determination that minimum-crew-size laws are neither necessary nor appropriate,” the carriers said in their filing. “In recent decades, technological breakthroughs have allowed railroads to gradually decrease average crew sizes—from about five in the 1960s to just two today—while compiling an ever-improving record of safety. Now, the nation’s railroads are poised to deliver even safer and more efficient service.”

The filing repeatedly referenced the Federal Railroad Administration’s withdrawal of its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that occurred in late May. In the NPRM, FRA Administrator Ron Batory announced that his agency was acting with the intention to pre-empt any state laws regarding rail crew size. Indiana Rail Road, a regional railroad that operates over 250 miles of track in Illinois and Indiana, began using one-person crews in 1997.

The FRA’s NPRM withdrawal is being challenged in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Nevada by SMART TD, Illinois and a number of other states. Illinois on Aug. 9 became the seventh state overall and third this year to enact two-person crew legislation. The Illinois law is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

The lawsuit, which also lists the Association of American Railroads and American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association as plaintiffs, was filed Sept. 30 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division.

Members invited to big Labor Day marches

All SMART members are invited to participate in annual Labor Day parades.

On Monday, Sept. 2, in Galesburg, Ill., Transportation Division Alternate National Legislative Director-elect Jared Cassity is scheduled to be in attendance to march alongside members of TD Local 195 and all other members who attend the 127th edition of the parade, a tradition that recognizes the sacrifice and contribution that workers have made in building our nation.

“Galesburg holds the title for the second-oldest consecutive Labor Day parade in America,” said Local Chairperson Bryan Roberts (LCA 001E) of TD Local 195. “We will have a photo with everyone before the parade begins and a float available to ride in the parade.”

Roberts said participants should meet between 8 and 9 a.m. at the TD Local 195 union hall in the basement of the Bondi Building, 311 E. Main St., lower level. There is an access door off Kellogg Street as well that leads downstairs to the union hall in addition to the building’s main entrance.

Roberts said there will be a picnic with food and drink provided immediately following the parade at Lake Story, Pavilion 3, 1572 Machens Drive in Galesburg. The pavilion is immediately to the left when turning off Lake Story Road toward the Main Pavilion across from the softball fields, Roberts said. Alcohol is prohibited on site.

All members in Galesburg and the surrounding area are invited to participate.

“We hope to see everyone there,” Roberts said.

In Nebraska, food and fun are on the schedule at the membership feed 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 1, the night before the big parade in Omaha.

Parade T-shirts will also be distributed at the Sheet Metal Workers Hall, 3333 S. 24th St., in Omaha.

Line-up for the parade takes place at 9 a.m. the following day at the northeast corner of 17th and Mike Fahey streets. Attend the feed or contact State Legislative Director Bob Borgeson for more details on participating at smartdirector@cox.net.

And members, if you attend this or any other Labor Day event, please send in your photos to news_td@smart-union.org for consideration in the next edition of the TD News!

Ill. oil train derailment threatens Mississippi River

oil-train-railAn oil train derailment and spill in northwest Illinois poses an “imminent and substantial danger” of contaminating the Mississippi River, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Saturday.

The spill from the derailment, which occurred Thursday, also threatens the Galena River, a tributary of the Mississippi, and the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, one of the most complex ecosystems in North America.

Read the complete story at the Los Angeles Times.

Train carrying crude oil derails in Illinois

oil-train-railA freight train loaded with crude oil derailed in northern Illinois on Thursday, bursting into flames and prompting officials to suggest that everyone with 1 mile evacuate, authorities said.

The BNSF Railway train derailed around 1:05 p.m. in a rural area where the Galena River meets the Mississippi, according to company spokesman Andy Williams. The train had 103 cars loaded with crude oil, along with two buffer cars loaded with sand. A cause for the derailment hadn’t yet been determined. No injuries were reported.

Read the complete story at ABC News.

Ill. governor acts to curb public sector unions

ilinoisGov. Bruce Rauner, the newly elected Republican who has often criticized public sector unions, took his first step toward curbing their power on Monday by announcing an executive order that would bar unions from requiring all state workers to pay the equivalent of dues.

Mr. Rauner, who faces a Democratic-controlled legislature with strong ties to labor, took the unilateral step saying that he believed those fees violate the United States Constitution.

Read the complete story at The New York Times.

Illinois, UP announce Metra improvements

metra_logoBELLWOOD, Ill. — Governor Pat Quinn June 27 was joined by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Union Pacific Railroad President and COO Lance Fritz to announce that the Union Pacific (UP) and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) are making a significant investment in Metra’s West Line.

Each will invest $45 million for the construction of a new third main line track on the UP/Metra’s West Line, from River Forest to Melrose Park and then from West Chicago to Geneva. The announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to create jobs and build a 21st century infrastructure that will drive Illinois’ economy forward.

Read the complete story at eNews Park Forest.

Labor rallies greet anti-union governors in Illinois

Guy

Mention in Illinois the names of the anti-union governors of Indiana and Wisconsin – Scott Walker and Mitch Daniels – and, well, just start watching, listening and counting.

When the Wisconsin and Indiana governors separately ventured into Illinois April 17 and 19 for pre-arranged speaking engagements in Springfield (Walker to business leaders) and Champaign (Daniels to Republican leaders) almost 10,000 union members and supporters in total at both locations showed up to demonstrate their displeasure.

They unfurled union banners, set up 20-foot inflatable rats and displayed signs proclaiming, “union buster.”

Both demonstrations were organized, in part, by the UTU’s Illinois State Legislative Office, Illinois State Legislative Director Bob Guy and the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund.

In Wisconsin, Walker was an architect of legislation to curtail collective bargaining rights and weaken the organizing abilities of labor unions. He also rejected federal funds to build high-speed rail in Wisconsin, which cost Wisconsin hundreds of jobs. Because of grass roots efforts in Wisconsin by organized labor and its friends – funded in part by the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund — Walker faces a recall election in June.

In Indiana, Daniels supported the recent passage by the state legislature of right-to-work (for less) legislation.

“Illinois UTU members were thrilled about the opportunity to gather with our brothers and sisters of labor to protest the appearance of governors who care more about business interests than the working families,” Guy said. “We sent strong messages to the two anti-union governors, as well as our Illinois lawmakers, that attacks on collective bargaining rights won’t work in Illinois.”

The Champaign rally included a workshop on the negative impact of right-to-work (for less) legislation on collective bargaining, and guidance on how union members should communicate the issue to their communities and fellow workers.

 

UP may ink Illinois passenger rail contract

Union Pacific, frequently identified – rightly or wrongly – as a foe of joint freight/passenger rail operations, may be the first major railroad to sign such an implementing agreement, reports the Journal of Commerce.

The Journal of Commerce quoted UP CEO Jim Young as saying he is “confident” that UP and the State of Illinois will agree on terms to operate a 110-mph Amtrak train over UP tracks between Chicago and St. Louis.

The cost of improving the right-of-way to handle higher speed trains, plus the cost of the equipment and stations, is estimated at some $4 billion, and Union Pacific and the State of Illinois are expecting a federal stimulus grant totaling some 25 percent of the projected cost.