Posts Tagged ‘UTUIA’

UTUIA announces new field structure

United Transportation Union Insurance Association (UTUIA) President Kenneth Laugel proudly announced this month a plan intended to broaden the scope and availability of all of the fraternal benefit society’s services to SMART Transportation Division members and its customers nationwide.

“After serving a broad spectrum of our customer base during the COVID-19 pandemic, we found that there were avenues where UTUIA could construct more efficient, more convenient and broader ways to serve all our customers,” Laugel said. “We are excited and confident that these improvements will not simply maintain, but elevate the level of service that our members have come to enjoy and expect.”

First and foremost is a revamping of the agency’s structure approved by the UTUIA board that comes in three major components:

  1. UTUIA agents who were in the former position of Field Supervisor have been dispersed among seven regions encompassing multiple states. Now known as Regional Insurance Managers, they oversee states in the Western, Great Plains, Southwest, Great Lakes, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions. The accompanying map shows specifics on the regional structure.
  2. Positions of Territory Manager and Assistant Territory Manager also have been created to provide a broader support system to improve service within each region.
  3. Finally, the position of Local Insurance Representative has been redesigned, meaning that every Transportation Division local will have at least one person singularly devoted to fulfilling the needs of members regarding UTUIA benefits.

“These changes are all designed to better increase our visibility to the membership,” Laugel said. “Ultimately with more ‘boots on the ground’ our members will see the greater value that the UTUIA represents to the SMART-TD family.”

The change in structure is not the only innovation that the society is undertaking.

UTUIA also has established a partnership with US Bank subsidiary Evalon Inc. to provide secure credit-card processing with full encryption so that paying premiums online is protected at the maximum level available.

“Elavon has a proprietary service that shields all sensitive data,” Laugel said. “UTUIA has seen the damage security flaws and breaches have caused to customers in our field. We will always protect members’ confidential information.”

A Credit Card Services page has been set up on the UTUIA website ( for enrollment in online premium payments and provides another level of convenience for people who still may be hesitant to venture out as the nation continues to contend with COVID-19.

The pandemic has been a challenge for UTUIA and essential workers alike, but Laugel noted that the 152-year-old fraternal benefit society has continued to be there unabated and undeterred — paying claims and providing scholarships, extending premium grace periods, making policy loans and continuing its steadfast support with charitable donations and contributions to the SMART-TD Disaster Recovery Fund.

“Through this time we have continued to make changes that will serve to strengthen our Society and better serve our members,” Laugel said. “We are proud of this effort and are even more proud to continue to protect and serve our members and our customers with our full range of insurance and financial benefits as we emerge from the pandemic.”

A letter from UTUIA President Kenneth Laugel and Secretary Treasurer Jeff Becker to SMART-TD members with more details.

Visit the UTUIA website for more information

Hurricane Disaster Assistance Alert

The United Transportation Union Insurance Association (UTUIA) asks those members who are experiencing financial or other difficulties in paying premiums due to Hurricane Harvey, to please call the UTUIA to discuss options that may be available.

The UTUIA may be reached at 216-228-9400 or toll-free 800-558-8842.

UTUIA donates $5k to Hurricane Harvey relief

The United Transportation Insurance Association (UTUIA), in a show of fraternal solidarity and generosity, has donated $5,000.00 to the UTU Disaster Relief Fund to be used for SMART TD members who have been negatively impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

“Many Brothers and Sisters of the UTUIA have been affected by the devastating flooding in Texas. The officers and staff of the UTUIA have elected to forward a donation of $5,000.00 to help ease the pain and burden placed on those who are attempting to recover from this disaster,” said UTUIA President Ken Laugel.

In response, SMART TD President John Previsich said, “I wish to extend my personal thank you to the UTUIA and President Laugel for this magnanimous donation to a worthy cause. Our union brothers and sisters are hurting and it is donations like this one that will help our members get back on their feet. We must show them that they are not alone and that we care during what is certainly an unimaginably difficult time.”

Members who wish to donate to help their union brothers and sisters may do so by making checks payable and sending them to:

UTU Disaster Relief Fund
24950 Country Club Blvd.
Suite 340
North Olmsted, OH 44070-5333

For questions, please call Transportation Division headquarters at 216-228-9400 and reference Disaster Relief.

Mother of UTUIA President Ken Laugel dies

Bernice Laugel


Bernice “Bunny” Sovine Laugel, 88, of Mooresville, N.C. died Monday, Jan. 18, 2016, at Brookdale Assisted Living.

Laugel was a homemaker who loved to travel, enjoyed crocheting, had a great sense of humor and loved to make people smile.

She was preceded in death by her husband Louis Frank Laugel and her daughters Debbi Hart and Judy Gang.

Laugel is survived by her children Kenneth (Mechele) Laugel and Cyndi (Gary) Hart; grandchildren Greg (Michelle) Hart, Adam (Amanda) Hart, Emily (Nathan) Higgs, Amanda (Cory) Gibson, Ashley Laugel and Cameron Laugel; great grandchildren Tyler, Charlie and Jackson Hart, Ethan and Raelynn Gibson and Isaiah Prince.

Visitation for Laugel was held Wednesday, Jan. 20, at the Cavin-Cook Funeral Home in Mooresville.

Memorial donations may be made in lieu of flowers to the Alzheimer’s Association, West Carolina Chapter, 4600 Park Rd., Ste. 250, Charlotte, NC 28209.

Click here to see Laugel’s obituary and to leave condolences.

Former UTUIA Field Supervisor Tom Anziano dies



Retired former United Transportation Union Insurance Association Field Supervisor Thomas R. Anziano Jr., 73, of Local 1373 at Philadelphia, died Mar. 26 after an extended battle with cancer.

Anziano began his railroad career with CSX Transportation and worked as a conductor and yard foreman. He was a member of the UTU since 1972 and held several offices in his local including chairperson, legislative representative and delegate before working as a field supervisor for the UTUIA, a position from which he retired in 2005. He was also a member of the UTU Alumni Association. He was a veteran of the United States Air Force.

“Tom was always known as a kind, generous man who was loved and admired by everyone who knew him. Tom always put his family, friends and especially the UTU membership ahead of himself,” UTUIA Field Supervisor Art Rayner (Local 1374 at New Castle, Pa.) said. “I will always be forever grateful and indebted to Tom for all he had done for me after I replaced him as a UTUIA field supervisor. I will truly miss him.”

Anziano is survived by his wife, Barbara, and numerous family members.

A viewing is scheduled for Monday, March 30, at 8 a.m. at Cavanagh Family Funeral Homes, Inc., at 301 Chester Pike, in Norwood, Pa., with funeral mass to follow at 11 a.m. at St. Gabriel Church, Norwood, Pa. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Taylor Hospice Residence at P.O. Box 147, Ridley Park, PA 19078.

Every tool in use to protect members’ jobs, safety

Delivering on the theme of the 2012 regional meetings – “We will not back down” – UTU International President Mike Futhey told more than 1,000 attendees at the Memphis meeting how the UTU is using every tool available – negotiations, legislative and legal — to defend its members’ jobs and workplace safety.

* On the Belt Railway of Chicago, where the carrier is demanding contract changes to permit one person crews at carrier discretion, the UTU has asked the National Mediation Board to declare a bargaining impasse. Belt Railway General Chairperson Chris Votteler’s negotiating team, assisted by International Vice President Delbert Strunk, faces a carrier that refuses to take crew consist changes off the table – three years following start of negotiations — even though the carrier is party to a moratorium on the issue.

“We will take every action necessary to protect our members’ jobs. We will not stand down on crew consist,” Futhey said.

* As to conductor certification — mandated by Congress and put into regulatory language by the Federal Railroad Administration – Norfolk Southern has filed an FRA-required certification plan without discussion and coordination with general chairpersons.

The NS proposed plan seeks to provide a pilot for remedial training only for conductors who have not traveled over a territory for 36 months, rather than the 12 months required in current agreements; and then seeks to place the burden of notification solely on the conductor rather than tracking the time period electronically. Additionally, the NS plan does not discuss procedures it will follow in an investigation even though FRA regulations require railroads to provide all documents and the list of witnesses prior to a hearing.

Futhey said the UTU will not permit “a tortured interpretation” of congressional and FRA intent, and will work to ensure every railroad follows the letter and intent of the law and regulations prior to the required Sept. 1 deadline for certifying conductors.

* In Pennsylvania, Norfolk Southern is attempting to disregard state safety laws and regulations through federal preemption affecting workplace safety at hump yards. “We will take every action necessary to prevent railroads from weakening workplace safety protections, whether at the state or federal level,” Futhey said.

* Pointing to millions of dollars in fines assessed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration against railroads that have harassed, intimidated, disciplined and fired workers for reporting injuries and workplace safety concerns, Futhey reminded members that UTU designated legal counsel is pledged to assist in bringing and pursuing such complaints. Information on filing these complaints is available at the UTU website at by searching “OSHA.”

“We are not going to allow carriers to continue their pattern of harassment and intimidation of workers who are injured on the job,” Futhey said. “The FRA and OSHA recently signed a letter of intent to investigate jointly all complaints of carrier harassment and intimidation, and the FRA has informed each carrier of its intent to work with OSHA to end the long-standing practice of carriers disciplining injured workers “where the facts fail to support the charges. We are lawyered up, too, and will take this to wherever we must to protect the interests of our members.”

* Recalling the horrific murder of a UTU-member bus driver in Los Angeles, the fatal shooting of a train-crew member near New Orleans, and assaults on bus operators and intrusions into locomotive cabs by armed robbers elsewhere, Futhey said the UTU is working with lawmakers and regulators to implement better safeguards for its air, bus and rail members. The FRA recently imposed a requirement that all new and remanufactured locomotive cabs be equipped with secure cab locks.

“I promise every member that the UTU will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our members to ensure their safety. Our voice will be heard,” Futhey said.

As to the state of the union, Futhey said the International’s general fund balance is improving as carriers bring back furloughed workers, that the UTU Insurance Association now has a $28 million surplus and is financially strong, and the Discipline Income Protection Plan (DIPP) is financially sound with more than $10 million in assets.

Futhey emphasized that while competing plans often seek ways to deny payment of claims, the UTU’s DIPP is aggressive in paying claims. Futhey cited an example of two workers on the same assignment on CSX – one covered by the UTU’s DIPP and the other by a competing plan – who were both suspended. “Where the competing plan denied the claim, DIPP paid the claim. End of story.”

As for the UTU’s disability insurance plan covering bus and rail members, Futhey said it has paid out more than $22 million in disability benefits for off-duty injuries and is proving to be a valuable benefit.

As to organizing, Futhey said that since January 2008, when he took office, the UTU has an unprecedented record of organizing one new property every seven weeks. One of the first post-merger coordinations has been the joint strengthening with the Sheet Metal Workers International Association of organizing efforts, which makes greater resources available for organizing transportation, building trades and production workers.

Futhey also explained how the UTU negotiating strategy in national handling has already paid off for rail members covered by the national rail contract.

“When we entered  national rail contract negotiations, our strategy was to hold the monthly cost sharing premium under $200 — rather than allow it to escalate to $300 or more — in exchange for somewhat higher copays,” Futhey said. “The Affordable Care Act now eliminates many of those copays, saving affected members out-of-pocket for many health care services while those members enjoy one of the lowest cost-sharing premiums in the public and private sectors.”

UTU International President Mike Futhey

SMART will boost UTUIA financial strength

By UTU International President Mike Futhey – 

Congratulations go to Art Rayner, the United Transportation Union Insurance Association’s man of the year for 2011.

Art Rayner

Art was recognized for his sales and leadership performance – attributes that helped propel the UTUIA last year to one of its strongest financial performances.