BNSF announced on Wednesday in a letter to employees that three maintenance shops will be closed in Montana and Wyoming, while additional mechanical department job cuts will occur in Alliance and Lincoln, Neb.; Mandan and Minot, N.D.; Topeka, Kan.; and Superior, Wis.
“In total, approximately 19 salaried and 344 craft positions will be impacted,” the carrier stated. “These adjustments come as the result of long-term structural market changes, most notably in the coal and energy sector, and reduced demand for freight transportation services at the impacted locations.”
The Donkey Creek, Wyo., shop is scheduled to close June 5 while the facilities in Glendive, Mont., and Guernsey, Wyo., are scheduled to close July 7.
The Wyoming facility closures will result in 122 jobs lost. In Topeka, 28 jobs will be cut.
“Closing our facilities and reducing jobs in communities where we’ve had a long-lasting presence is a difficult but necessary decision,” the carrier said.
Two assistant state legislative directors were elevated to lead their respective states’ legislative boards after a pair of retirements at the end of 2018.
Glenn Carey, SMART TD’s new state legislative director in Oregon, poses for a photo with his 10-year-old granddaughter, Shealeigh.
In Oregon, Glenn Carey, a member of Local 1841 and the state’s assistant SLD since March 2016, took over with the Jan. 1 retirement of Randy Russ.
Russ, of Local 1574, joined the union in 1999 and served just short of seven years as Oregon’s SLD.
“When Randy talked, people listened,” Carey said. “That’s Randy…not a lot of banter, but when he talked, we hung on every word. We listened. Most staunch union man I’d ever seen and (he) was a big brother to me.
“I am hoping to do a good job for SMART TD and keep the level of professionalism just like Randy did.”
Carey says two-person crew legislation similar to what was passed in California will be a priority in Oregon.
“We will get it,” he said. “The timing is right.”
In Wisconsin, William “Andy” Hauck succeeds Craig Peachy, who also retired effective Jan. 1. Hauck began as assistant SLD in April 2016 and is a member of Local 583.
Hauck said he’s taking over the state legislative board at a good time.
William “Andy” Hauck is Wisconsin’s new state legislative director.
“We have a new governor in Wisconsin — we’re ‘Scott free’,” he quipped, referring to the anti-union former Gov. Scott Walker, who enacted right-to-work-for-less and other anti-union initiatives during his terms.
Wisconsin is among four states that have passed state two-person crew legislation, so Hauck’s focus will be on bringing legislation forward on issues including taxi-cab legislation covering rail worker transportation; rail inspection reforms through the state Commissioner of Railroads Office; legislation covering safety lighting in rail yards and ensuring that full Positive Train Control (PTC) interface access is available to conductors.
“The regulation states that ALL crew members will be trained and have the capability to interact with the safety overlay system of PTC,” Hauck said.
Hauck’s predecessor, Peachy, hired out with the Soo Line railroad in 1974 and had his rail career disrupted a number of times because of layoffs. He returned for good in 1990 with the Wisconsin Central Ltd., a subsidiary of Canadian National that was successfully organized by the United Transportation Union in 1997.
Peachy, of Local 583 (Fond du Lac, Wis.), got involved as a local legislative representative, eventually being elected state legislative director in 2012 and then re-elected in 2016.
“It has been an honor and privilege to have leaders like Brothers John Risch and James Stem, who were always there to guide and direct me to be the best state legislative director that I could be,” Peachy said in a letter announcing his retirement. “The SMART TD Legislative Department is second to none due to our past and present elected leadership.”
SMART TD wishes Peachy and Russ the best in their retirements and Carey and Hauck success in their work to serve our brothers and sisters.
Clyde Larson, 62, described as “an absolute pillar” of the railroad labor community in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin, died on Nov. 8.
“Brother Clyde was a tremendously generous person and assisted all crafts,” said SMART TD Minnesota Legislative Director Phillip Qualy. “Clyde helped an untold number of railroad workers and our families with railroad and non-railroad matters.” Larson, of Hermantown, Minn., was a member of UTU Local 1292 and worked as a conductor on the Duluth Missabe and Iron Range, later CN Railway, first hiring out in 1974 at age 19 as a brakeman.
He also served as Local 1292’s Local and General Chairperson from the late 1980s to 2010, protecting one of the most lucrative steel road contracts in the United States.
He also served as legislative representative on the Minnesota Legislative Board from 2003 to 2009.
Brother Larson had served as a field investigator for the designated counsel law firm Hunegs, LeNeave and Kvas since 2010.
Clyde was serving our members in the union hall (Local 832/1175) to his final day. His ongoing dedication to his brothers and sisters of railroad labor was truly remarkable.
Brother Larson is survived by his wife, Anne, three sons, Scott, Eric, and Corey, two grandchildren and his father, Dexter Larson.
Visitation will be 5-7 p.m., with a wake prayer at 5 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 14, at Dougherty Funeral Home in Duluth. Visitation will continue from 10-11 a.m., followed by the Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 15, at St. Lawrence Church in Duluth. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery.
SMART TD extends its condolences to Clyde’s family and friends.
MADISON, Wis.—Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker on Monday will call for sweeping restrictions on organized labor in the U.S., seeking to replicate nationwide his successful effort as Wisconsin’s governor to curb the power of unions.
At a town hall meeting in Las Vegas, Walker will propose eliminating unions for employees of the federal government, making all workplaces right-to-work unless individual states vote otherwise, scrapping the federal agency that oversees unfair labor practices and making it more difficult for unions to organize.
Many of Walker’s proposals are focused on unions for workers at all levels of government, while others would also affect private-sector unions. Labor law experts said such an effort, if successful, would substantially reduce the power of organized labor in America.
In a letter to the editor published Oct. 24 in the Fond du Lac Reporter, SMART Transportation Division’s Wisconsin State Legislative Director Craig Peachy wrote a response to an article that was published Sept. 13 entitled, “More trains lead to traffic delays at crossings.”
“A train blocked the 175 Highway crossing for more than five hours on Sept. 7.
“Almost immediately, three local misguided Republican Congressman (Tom Petri, Jim Sensenbrenner, Sean Duffy) misdiagnosed the problem and proposed Congress pass a law that would require railroad workers to work longer hours.
“The problem with this incident and almost all like it is not the fault of the crew on the train. Rather, it lies with bad decisions by railroad managers.
“The train blocked the crossing because a railroad manager refused to communicate with the train crew and forced them to pull the train ahead to a point where it blocked the highway crossing, knowing full well there were places where this train could have parked that would not have blocked a crossing.
“Railroads are ever increasing train lengths that are commonly as long as 9,000 to 10,000 feet, when road crossings are generally located on section lines approximately 5,280 feet or a mile apart. Add to the mix that some railroads want to go to one person on a train, which would make it impossible to cut road crossings. All of this means Wisconsinites can just plan on being stuck for hours most everywhere.
“What is the solution? Better management decisions, shorter trains and the continuation of at least two persons on every train.
“As a 23-year operating railroad employee, I can assure you the last thing a train crew wants to do is block a crossing longer than is absolutely necessary. Train crews have family, friends and neighbors that live in the community and may need emergency assistance at any given time. Blocking road crossings for hours in a non-emergency situation is not only immoral, but should not be tolerated by Wisconsinites.”
Prosecutors accuse Gov. Scott Walker of personally overseeing a sweeping “criminal scheme” to illegally coordinate fundraising and campaign activity among conservative groups in a broad effort to help him – and Republican senators – fend off recalls in 2011 and 2012, court documents made public June 19 show.
In the documents, unsealed by a federal appeals judge, prosecutors described what they called a “criminal scheme” to circumvent state campaign finance and election laws.
MADISON, Wis. – The U.S. arm of a Spanish train-maker filed a $65.9 million claim against the state of Wisconsin Nov. 7, setting up a likely lawsuit and reviving debate over Gov. Scott Walker’s rejection of $810 million in federal stimulus money for a high-speed rail line.
In its filing with the state Claims Board, Seattle-based Talgo Inc. also maintained Wisconsin owes bond holders an additional $70 million because it borrowed that much for two train sets but never took possession of them.
MADISON, Wis. – A Madison judge on Monday found Wisconsin labor relations officials in contempt for enforcing parts of Gov. Scott Walker’s contentious bargaining restrictions despite a ruling that they’re unconstitutional, clearing the way for hundreds of school district and municipal worker unions to negotiate with their employers again.
Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas ruled last year the provisions were unconstitutional as they applied to two unions representing Madison teachers and Milwaukee public workers, creating confusion about whether the ruling applied to all school and municipal workers across the state.
Voters in Wisconsin will decide Tuesday, June 5, whether to recall their anti-union Gov. Scott Walker, a recall election engineered largely by working families and union members after Walker successfully pushed state legislation to curtail collective bargaining rights of public employees and weaken the ability of labor unions to represent workers across the state.
Walker, a Republican, is being challenged by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a Democrat, whom Walker defeated in 2010 by a 50-45 percent vote margin.
Also facing recall Tuesday are Wisconsin Republican Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and three Republican state senators, all of whom joined Walker in support of the anti-union legislation. A fourth senator resigned from office prior to facing a recall election. That vacant seat will be filled in Tuesday’s election.
In August 2011, two state senators who had supported Walker’s assault on collective bargaining rights were successfully recalled and replaced by more moderate lawmakers.
The UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund played a significant role in the successful recall election effort last year, as well as the current recall election. More than 900,000 signatures were obtained on petitions to force Tuesday’s recall election.
Walker is the first governor in Wisconsin history to face recall. Only two governors have been removed from office through recall votes: California Gov. Gray Davis in 2003 and North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier in 1921.
UTU members, along with members of the Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA), and brothers and sisters from dozens of other unions, have been active across Wisconsin in rallies and other activities to energize voters to elect Barrett in place of the anti-union Walker.
The UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund provided resources to obtain the petition signatures as well as for direct mailings, door-to-door visits of voters and recorded phone calls by UTU International President Mike Futhey to UTU members and retirees in Wisconsin explaining the issues and encouraging votes for Barrett on Tuesday.
Barrett told CNN June 3 that “Scott Walker wants to be on the national stage as the rock star of the far right, as the poster boy of the Tea Party.”
Emotions are running so high in this election that the U.S. Justice Department is sending teams of poll watchers to Wisconsin.
Millions of dollars have flowed into this race from conservatives and business executives across America, providing Walker with an 8-1 spending advantage over Barrett for political advertising.
As for Wisconsin’s anti-labor legislation that was approved by Republican legislative majorities last year, a federal court in March invalidated portions of the Wisconsin law – one provision requiring annual recertification of a union, and another denying workers the right to have union dues withheld from their paychecks. Both were found in violation of constitutional free speech rights.
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.
Republican Gov. Scott Walker, the architect of anti-union legislation in his state, faces a recall election in June. He becomes the first governor in Wisconsin history to face recall.
The UTU, through its Collective Bargaining Defense Fund, worked with other labor organizations, including the Sheet Metal Workers International Association, to obtain almost one million signatures forcing the recall election — almost twice as many as required.
The New York Times reports that, in the nation’s history, only two governors have been removed from office through recall votes: California Gov. Gray Davis in 2003 and North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier in 1921.
A former White House counsel to President George H.W. Bush, C. Boyden Gray, was quoted that the Walker recall election “has national implications” as working families react to a string of attempts by conservatives in many states to restrict collective bargaining rights and limit the ability of labor unions to represent workers.
Also facing recall in June are Wisconsin Republican Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and three Republican state senators, all of whom supported the anti-union legislation; while a fourth resigned from office prior to facing a recall election. That vacant seat will be filled also in the June election.
In August 2011, two state senators who had supported Gov. Walker’s assault on collective bargaining rights were successfully recalled and replaced by more moderate lawmakers.
In 2011, the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund was instrumental in overturning, at the ballot box, an Ohio law restricting collective bargaining rights.
Meanwhile, a federal court in March invalidated portions of the Wisconsin law – one provision requiring annual recertification of a union, and another denying workers the right to have union dues withheld from their paychecks. Both were found in violation of constitutional free speech rights.
“On Wisconsin” is the fight song of the University of Wisconsin.
“Back to Wisconsin” is the fight song of the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund and other organizations determined to continue a successful “red zone” defense against anti-union political zealots.
Organized labor – with considerable assistance from the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund – helped engineer the recall of two Wisconsin state senators who plotted to eliminate collective bargaining rights for state workers in that state, and then defeated, at the ballot box, an Ohio legislative attempt to do the same.
Elected lawmakers nationwide, as well as political analysts, fully digested that those successes by organized labor and its friends and now recognize organized labor is not to be abused or ignored.
Now the focus turns to a recall of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, the architect of the Wisconsin assault on collective bargaining rights and organized labor. A successful recall could stop dead in its tracks further efforts by anti-labor zealots — nationwide and in Congress — to attack the fundamental rights of working Americans to organize and bargain collectively.
Indeed, in union there is strength, and now that strength is being focused on obtaining 540,000 signatures of Wisconsin voters to force a recall of Gov. Walker – the anti-union politician who started this unnecessary fight.
As the Associated Press reported, the drive to collect the 540,000 signatures is “fueled by anger over Walker’s successful push to take away nearly all public worker collective bargaining rights.”
It is fueled also by recognition among working families — union and non-union — that this was only the opening salvo in an effort to destroy labor unions and return America to the days when workers were entirely beholden to the daily whims of management.
In Wisconsin, the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund is helping to organize rallies, buy television and radio air time to explain the recall effort, engage in door-to-door canvassing of voters, operate phone banks, send letters to the editor, meet with media editorial boards, and establish “sign the petition” booths throughout the state.
Less than two weeks into the recall campaign, volunteers have collected more than 300,000 signatures. With 540,000 signatures, a recall election could be held as early as April 2012.
In an incredible statement, Gov. Walker told a Wisconsin radio station, in response to the rallies, “You see a total disregard for people’s families and others here.” One would have thought he was responding to his own anti-labor efforts.
For more information on the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund, click on the following link: