Posts Tagged ‘SMART TD National Safety Team’

SMART-TD National Safety Team gets new director

As the SMART-TD restructures to better serve our membership, the National Safety Team (NST) now has a new director. SMART-TD Alternate National Legislative Director Jared Cassity (Local 1377 in Russell, Ky.) has taken over as director for SMART-TD Chief of Staff Jerry Gibson (Local 313 in Grand Rapids, Mich.).

“I have the utmost faith that Jared has the knowledge, experience and passion to lead this team,” Gibson said.

Jared Cassity

No stranger to the NST, Cassity joined the team in 2014 and served as an alternate director from 2016 to 2019. He has also served on the CSX Safety Model Executive Board.

Cassity started his railroad career with CSX in September 2005 and was promoted to engineer in 2008. He has held numerous positions within the union, including vice local chairperson, secretary and treasurer, legislative representative, local chairperson, assistant general chairperson, Kentucky state legislative director and alternate national legislative director.

“Safety is our priority, as it should be, but unfortunately we work in an industry that prioritizes profit before anything else. So, we must be vigilant to not just watch out for ourselves, but also to protect the backs of our brothers and sisters,” Cassity said. “As a union, we cannot let down our guard, and I pledge to maintain the necessary level of dedication and aggression that this job requires to get the job done.

“Our goal is simple: ‘to get you home the same way you came to work.’ I know that is an old saying, but it’s true. The safety of our brothers and sisters is worth fighting for, and the NST will do just that. Lastly, I would like to thank Brother Jerry for all the years he has dedicated to this team. What a difference for the better he has made.”

Jerry Gibson

Brother Gibson hired out in 1996 as a conductor for CSX. In 1998, he was voted as terminal safety chairperson, serving in that position until 2000. That same year, he assisted with the formation of a new safety process and authored what became the UTU/CSX Safety Program in February 2000. He also led the training of safety coordinators on CSX and was responsible for employee safety, unsafe condition and procedure correction, accident investigation and prevention. He’s also served the union by presenting safety and legislative courses at regional meetings.

A nationally recognized safety expert, Gibson has met with authorities from all federal and state executive and legislative branches and has provided testimony and information in regard to railroad-related issues pertaining to safety and job retention. He has been a co-director of the NST since 2013. Although stepping down as co-director, Gibson will remain acutely engaged to consult on safety matters.

“Safety has always been a passion of mine and something I worked diligently to improve my entire railroad career. I have always believed that, as a fraternal organization, the safety of our fellow brothers and sisters must top all other priorities as one loss or injury is one too many. I know with the leadership and commitment to safety President Ferguson and General President Sellers have, and the skills and ability Jared possesses, this team will receive the support it needs to be successful, therefore, the time was right to hand over the baton. While I am stepping back, I am not walking away and will always be a resource and advocate … willing to assist at any time,” Gibson said.

Click here to visit the SMART-TD National Safety Team webpage.

SMART-TD Safety Condition Report is launched for members to submit info about unsafe conditions

To address the growing safety concerns of our membership, we have implemented a universal Safety Condition Report that is now available on the SMART-TD website for all members to use.

This form will become the primary tool to report and collect data concerning unsafe working conditions, including COVID-19 issues, from all members. Organizational information such as Craft, Local, Carrier, State Legislative Director and General Committee are loaded based on a member’s selection using defined database values, ensuring an accurate submission so that the officers responsible for acting on the report are directly and timely informed.

Members are presented a default list of safety hazards (including COVID-19) to choose along with identifying the state and location of the unsafe condition. Additionally, the form will dynamically update based on the members’ input, creating a customized report. After submission, an automated email to the General Chairperson and State Legislative Director with jurisdiction is sent as an initial notification. Full details of the Safety Condition Report are then accessed by these officers via the TD Connect portal along with printing and exporting capabilities for further collaboration with Local officers so that the unsafe conditions can be addressed.

Rail members, please note: The Railroad Technology Event report remains as a separate reporting mechanism due to the amount of detail and complexities that topic requires.

It is important to note that the data collected by this Safety Condition Report and the information within are kept and used solely within our SMART Union computer system and are used by SMART-TD officers to assist in addressing the issues presented by members.

“Membership safety and well-being is a founding principal of this Union, but we cannot assist without being properly informed of the unsafe issues facing our fellow brothers and sisters.” SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson stated. “These reports are to enhance our safety efforts as many carriers lack proper and effective reporting mechanisms. Our SMART Constitution lists safety as our local legislative representatives’ primary mission, stating ‘They shall report to their Locals regarding the handling of all alleged unsafe or unsanitary working conditions found to exist, or reported to them, within their jurisdiction. They shall undertake to correct such conditions through appropriate measures consistent with the local and national policies of the Transportation Division.’ Therefore, we ask that you also forward this information as soon as possible to your local legislative representative or other SMART Union officer for proper handling. If you are unsure who they are or how to contact them, please contact our office.

“It is imperative that we all accept the personal responsibility to properly document known unsafe conditions, acts and security concerns. If more people would take the time to do this we could, over time, address most of the long-standing concerns we have. Without documentation, nothing will ever change — the issues and concerns will continue to remain and often grow until a very unfortunate situation such as an injury, accident or fatality brings to light what many knew was a problem long ago but failed to address.”

The union’s chief of staff hopes that the use of this form brings hazards that have been taken for granted or tolerated by workers to light.

“Sadly, we hear one particular scenario too often,” SMART-TD Chief of Staff Jerry Gibson said. “Someone says, ‘That has been an issue for a long time’ or ‘Everyone knows that is a problem’ at a particular property. Yet everyone assumes that someone else has written the unsafe condition up and unfortunately, no one has. The issue remains and the carriers use that against us by stating the very same thing — ‘That has been like that forever, and no one has said anything or taken issue with it.’

“This online reporting process is here to change that. Your union’s leadership wants to raise our safety standards. The carriers will no longer be allowed to dictate our level of personal safety … enough is enough. Only when we, as a collective group, choose to properly address our issues and concerns can we expect others to comply with those demands. It is the charge of the carrier to provide us with the proper training, security and safe work environment while doing so … and we will hold them accountable.”

The Safety Condition Report is accessible directly from the SMART-TD home page as both a banner and as a menu item — look for the blinking yellow caution signal.

“Please assist us with assisting you,” President Ferguson said. “All of our members deserve safe working conditions on the job and to return home safely. If there is an issue you want to report — report it.”

Local officer killed on the job in Texas

Union Pacific switchman, Jon Beckman, 48, was killed when he was struck by a train Friday, Sept. 22. He was working in Arlington, Texas when the accident occurred.

Beckman was a member of Local 243 in Ft. Worth, Texas, for 19 years. He served the local as president since 2007 and local chairperson since 2012, and was also the local’s delegate.

The SMART TD National Safety Team has been dispatched to the scene and is helping the NTSB with the investigation.

SMART TD extends its deepest condolences to the Beckman family and to all who knew him.