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.
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.”
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.