On this Memorial Day, let us reflect on and honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice while in service to our great nation. Their willingness to voluntarily face hardships where others cannot or will not is a testament to their character. We would not be the country we are today or enjoy the freedoms we have without these men and women.
As a veteran of the U.S. Army, I view this holiday with great reverence and respect. SMART-TD would like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation to members of the military, and their supporting affiliates — those on active duty, those who have retired and those who are no longer with us.
Their sacrifices must not go unnoticed nor be forgotten.
As we all celebrate this Memorial Day, please take a moment to reflect on the holiday’s true meaning. Keep their memories and teachings close to you always and be thankful for those who continue to endure these duties today.
As a reminder, our union has many resources for veterans available — please see the links below. As we continue into June, which is PTSD awareness month (National PTSD Awareness Day is Tuesday, June 27), be sure to take care of yourselves and seek out help or support if you need it. More information about PTSD and treatment options are available here.
If you are suffering from PTSD and think you may hurt yourself, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 to reach a trained counselor. Use that same number and press 1 to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.
Local #1594 in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia, represents roughly 300 SMART-TD members working for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) in bus service, commuter rail, and trolley service. The size of this local and the diversity in its crafts makes it a unique local with opportunities and challenges that cannot be addressed with cookie-cutter solutions.
Recently, a handful of our brothers and sisters in Local 1594 have reached out to the International with questions that touched on a variety of complicated issues. Without delay, SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson decided to head to Pennsylvania to have an open dialogue with the members of 1594, with the intention of resolving the issues and making sure that our Philly members and the International office are on the same page.
President Ferguson assembled his team of Bus Department Vice President Alvey Hughes, Assistant General Counsel Shawn McKinley, and Senior Assistant to the President Ralph Leichliter. On Tuesday, April 25, this leadership group arrived in Upper Darby, attending two local meetings with Local #1594 in an effort to provide information and hear the facts on the ground.
Both meetings were extremely productive. In total, roughly 40 members attended to participate in the discussions, and both the membership and leadership team came away with a better sense of mutual understanding of how SMART-TD can best move forward in our dealings with SEPTA. Ferguson said for his part in these meetings, “I want to thank Local 1594’s leadership and their General Committee Chair Anthony Petty for hosting my team and facilitating these important discussions. We cannot expect to make progress as a labor organization without open lines of communication. I feel that as far as the International office is concerned, we are happy with the progress made in these two meetings in Upper Darby. We have a clearer understanding of what they need from us as officers, and I’d like to think they now have a better understanding of what needs to be done on their end as well.”
If any members of Local 1594 have follow-up questions about what was discussed at last week’s meetings, SMART-TD would like to encourage them to reach out to our office. Please contact our office at (216) 228-9408 and use extension #1 to reach the President’s Department.
I wanted to open this column by expressing my continued admiration to the dedication and drive all members of the SMART Transportation Division have shown in the face of adversity.
As an example, our bus members in Santa Cruz out of Local 23 have coped with weather challenges posed by massive flooding in the area and helped to evacuate people to safety. Elsewhere on the West Coast, the Midwest and in the Northeast, we’ve dealt with our share of storms that make our work more difficult and stressful for bus operators, transit workers, passenger rail, air and freight rail workers.
I want to thank you for showing up. You do the work that others are unwilling or cannot do, and that keeps this country moving. You are appreciated, and when I travel to your area, I will tell you that in person.
A special congratulations goes out to the members of Local 1715 in Charlotte who ratified a new contract by a near-unanimous margin that secures a significant wage increase and other positive gains. Thank you, General Chairperson Joseph Paglia, Vice General Chairperson and Local President Christy Kiser, Local Chairperson Stanley Valentine, Secretary & Treasurer Chris Johnson, Local Committee of Adjustment Secretary Sabrina White and Bus Department Vice President Calvin Studivant for getting such a positive result!
Congratulations also go out to the Ohio State Legislative Board and State Legislative Director Clyde Whitaker, who made Ohio the ninth state to require a minimum two-person freight rail crew. His poise and truthful testimony in March before the U.S. Senate served as a great example for all of labor. He did a fine job.
You do the work that others are unwilling or cannot do, and that keeps this country moving. You are appreciated, and when I travel to your area, I will tell you that in person.
While we’ve each dealt with our own adversity over the past months, the people of East Palestine, Ohio, have dealt with a unique set of challenges. Thanks to a situation that they had no role in creating, the greed of Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR) came to an ugly head in the southeastern Ohio town.
The headlines and situation following the derailment there in early February are all too familiar, and each subsequent derailment in the months since has made headlines. People in East Palestine have been left with many questions. As the NTSB is thoroughly investigating the derailment to answer the question of “How” this scenario came to pass, we all know the answer to “Why?” PSR and its disregard for safety placed a higher value on getting Norfolk Southern’s train across the road than it did on safeguarding the communities it travelled through or the wellbeing of the crew on it.
The results have been splashed all over your televisions and news feeds. As we pray for the victims and hope that claims made by the carrier, EPA and local officials are true that the people of East Palestine are not in danger, we all owe it to those people to prevent that scene from playing out again and again and again.
Drone footage, doorbell cameras and interviews of the people directly affected have emphasized the points SMART-TD has been making for years about the destructive potential of PSR. With the national attention that has been generated by derailments, it is imperative that we disseminate the facts as we know them and continue to repudiate the role corporate greed plays in the rail industry, making community and worker alike less safe.
It is imperative that we harness this momentum to bring about some good from these disasters. Many states have seen progress on crew-size and train-length bills as the national discussion continues to examine rail safety. It is important that as our families, friends and neighbors come to us as industry experts, we are open and honest about the root cause. We need to stand together and to deliver the truth about the carriers’ conduct and what it has done to jeopardize our personal safety as well as the safety of every city and village we roll through.
As you are all aware, this past quarter has been one of much activity for SMART-TD. I want to take this opportunity to personally thank you for your continued professionalism, and I want to assure you that SMART-TD is engaged in every aspect of what is happening on both national and local levels. We are a party to the investigations into all of the recent derailments, as well as the wave of rail safety legislation that is getting headlines. We stand committed to making your voices heard in the halls of Congress as well as the backrooms of the nation’s rail carriers.
In freight negotiations, Luke Edington and his fellow officers at GC-953, as well as Rick Lee and his officers at GO-049 have leveraged gains on their respective properties into tentative agreements before the membership. GC-953’s agreement preserves the conductor position on Union Pacific and the carrier has withdrawn its nomadic “expediter” plan. GO-049 has achieved for the first time the chance for paid sick leave among T&E employees. I applaud their diligence in working to get these tentative agreements before our members and look forward to seeing other carriers follow suit in crafting similar on-property contracts.
Please continue to keep yourself safe and watch out for your brothers and sisters in your crew base. We will be remembered not for our career accomplishments but for how well we serve as one another’s keeper in trying times like the present.
Jeremy R. Ferguson President, Transportation Division
Atlanta, GA, and Independence, OH, (March 23, 2023) — Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE:NSC) and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers — Transportation Division (SMART-TD) announced Thursday that they are discontinuing formal negotiations regarding conductor redeployment to focus their efforts on implementing other immediate quality-of-life improvements for their employees.
“Over the next year, SMART-TD and Norfolk Southern have the opportunity to work together to implement important predictability improvements for our conductor workforce,” said Jeremy Ferguson, president of SMART-TD. “These scheduling enhancements, which were part of last year’s national agreements, have the potential to make an immediate positive impact for our conductors by giving them fixed days off and greater certainty about their weekly assignments. The willingness of NS to step back from plans to change to a ground-based conductor model is a welcome show of good faith in the negotiation process.”
Under the terms of the national agreements, Norfolk Southern and SMART-TD have a mid-June deadline to negotiate the details of these scheduling enhancements. Given this limited window, Norfolk Southern has withdrawn its current Section 6 bargaining notice on conductor redeployment to fully focus on collaboratively implementing these enhancements and other quality-of-life priorities.
“Norfolk Southern is committed to working with labor partners, including SMART-TD, to identify and negotiate benefits that will have a meaningful impact on our employees’ quality of life,” said Wai Wong, vice president, Labor Relations at Norfolk Southern. “While redeployment of conductors to ground-based shift-work will provide more predictable jobs and minimize time away from home, there are a number of other priorities that our labor partners would like to address, and we are committed to working together to make immediate progress.”
The withdrawal of the Section 6 notice on conductor redeployment removes the mandatory requirement for the parties to bargain over the issue, though voluntary discussions remain an option. SMART-TD and Norfolk Southern will continue listening to NS employees, relying on their input to guide the focus of their joint efforts and discussions going forward.
Since 1827, Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) and its predecessor companies have safely moved the goods and materials that drive the U.S. economy. Today, it operates a customer-centric and operations-driven freight transportation network. Committed to furthering sustainability, Norfolk Southern helps its customers avoid 15 million tons of yearly carbon emissions by shipping via rail. Its dedicated team members deliver more than 7 million carloads annually, from agriculture to consumer goods, and is the largest rail shipper of auto products and metals in North America. Norfolk Southern also has the most extensive intermodal network in the eastern U.S., serving a majority of the country’s population and manufacturing base, with connections to every major container port on the Atlantic coast as well as the Gulf of Mexico and Great Lakes. Learn more by visiting www.NorfolkSouthern.com.
SMART Transportation Division is comprised of approximately 125,000 active and retired members who work in a variety of different crafts in the transportation industry. These crafts include employees on every Class I railroad, Amtrak, many shortline railroads, bus and mass transit employees and airport personnel. More information about the union is available at www.smart-union.org.
2022 was a historic year for our movement. Our resolve was tested, and we proved stronger than anyone outside of this organization expected. As you can see by this latest edition of the SMART Members’ Journal, our collective efforts have served to put the world on notice.
Many events have defined this past year. The imposition of a national rail contract by Congress, a win in Los Angeles for the contract of one of our largest bus properties, a nationwide effort to rally for two-person crews through a record-setting number of comments to the FRA and through the coordination of nationwide informational rallies to raise awareness about crew size and the need for the dignity of sick leave — these have all put SMART-TD in the spotlight of our country’s news cycles.
These issues have resulted in an unprecedented amount of media attention from outlets all over the nation and the world. I made appearances on a number of cable networks, and it’s not an exaggeration when I say that thousands of news articles put our union and our efforts in the public eye.
This past year, our union took many steps and built necessary momentum to lead the way down a strong path in 2023, and I thank all of you for your support and continued engagement. Many of you took the risk of speaking out against the powerful. It’s going to be crucial to regroup and consider the next steps our opposition will take.
Together we all can work toward justice in the workplace and get what is deserved, even in the face of corporate greed. Our work and success in 2022 has taught us two things for certain. They will bend, and WE WILL NOT BREAK.
One tactic the rail carriers have already engaged in is that they are packaging new cost-cutting proposals to the rail industry and labeling these ideas as “safety” and “quality-of-life improvements” for our men and women on the front lines. I say proposals because they are simply that. As most of you all know, a number of general committees are in mediation over crew-consist agreement issues as a result of the court battles that began in 2019. More specifically, Union Pacific rolled out a video at December’s FRA public hearing on the proposed two-person crew regulation highlighting what they referred to as an “expeditor position,” claiming they had an agreement with “labor” to do so. This position may have been proposed and discussed in mediation, however, to this date there is no such agreement and was merely another attempt to mislead the FRA.
Regarding bus negotiations, we stand in concert with our brothers and sisters who work on the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS). It is important to continue to support them as they fight for a fair, equitable contract as we did with our members in Los Angeles on the LACMTA.
For rail workers, we will continue to focus our efforts on the quality-of-life improvements you have so clearly earned. These will be delivered through the negotiation of on-property agreements that our highly experienced general chairpersons will be leading the way on. We will strive to ensure that the hard-fought victories won by exhausting the Railway Labor Act in the national negotiations translate to real and tangible changes in your work schedules while not compromising your pay and healthcare expenses.
We will continue to protect the physical well-being of our commuter and passenger rail members by working with our State Legislative Directors (SLDs) to enact and enforce state laws banning riders who perpetrate violence against our members. It is crucial that we work together in order to make the workplace a safe, secure environment for these trainmen. Our SLDs and general chairpersons will follow the lead of those in New York and New Jersey to recreate the progress made this year in their precedent-setting ban of a rider from the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) system. The epidemic of disrespect and violence toward our transit and bus members needs to end.
In 2023, let us remain strong and united for the greater good. Together we all can work toward justice in the workplace and get what is deserved, even in the face of corporate greed. Our work and success in 2022, has taught us two things for certain. They will bend, and WE WILL NOT BREAK.
This year, let us stand united and learn from the battles we fought and what was accomplished in 2022. We must renew our commitment to staying in the fight and advancing our movement with resilience and solidarity.
Brothers and sisters, I say this to tell you that our work is not done – it never is – and we will continue forward with our progress in 2023.
Thank you for all that you do in your workplace, in your local union, and in your community.
God bless you and your families in 2023, and please stay safe and look out for one another!
Jeremy R. Ferguson President, Transportation Division
As you are undoubtedly aware, voting on the 2022 Tentative Agreement concluded yesterday evening at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time. I would like to sincerely thank each and every member who exercised their right to participate in this ratification, regardless of how you voted. While the final outcome is somewhat disheartening, I am proud to say that SMART-TD members turned out in record numbers, and your voices have been heard.
Before addressing the ratification vote results and our next steps, it is important to note that Article 21B, Section 91, of the SMART Constitution pertaining to national contract ratifications states, in pertinent part:
“A majority of the members voting of each of the crafts to be covered or affected by the terms of the proposed agreement shall be required to ratify the offer of settlement.”
This requires that each historic craft we represent (e.g., Conductors, Engine Service, Brakemen, Yardmen) must ratify for an agreement to ratify.
It is also important to note that there are two separate agreements covering the affected SMART-TD members. Document “A” applies to members working in the crafts of Conductor, Engine Service, Brakemen, and Yardmen (collectively referred to as the “operating crafts”), while Document “B” applies specifically to Yardmasters. With that being said, the final results of SMART-TD’s ratification vote are as follows:
As a majority of the members voting of each of the operating crafts did not approve the 2022 Tentative Agreement, Document “A” has failed ratification. As a majority of Yardmasters approved the 2022 Tentative Agreement, Document “B” is ratified, effective November 21, 2022.
With respect to the operating craft members outlined above, SMART-TD has entered a cooling-off period that extends through December 8, 2022. The National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC) has already indicated to us that they do not intend to engage in further bargaining over these issues. This has been their behavior to the other unions that have failed to ratify during this round of bargaining. Nonetheless, SMART-TD’s negotiating team will return to the table and invite the NCCC to reopen good-faith negotiations during this period.
If the cooling-off period expires and an improved Tentative Agreement cannot be reached, self-help will be available commencing at 12:01 a.m. Eastern time, Friday, December 9, 2022. There will be no need for this office to conduct another vote seeking strike authorization, as the results of our July 2022 polling and the unanimous approval of the affected General Committees of Adjustment still apply.
Please note that this letter does not automatically constitute authorization to engage in self-help. Final authorization will come in a separate notice from this office. The earliest such notice could be issued would be on or after 12:01 a.m. on Friday, December 9, 2022. However, there is a distinct possibility that Congress may pass legislation to resolve this dispute and/or impose an agreement prior to the expiration of our current cooling-off period. In that event, no self-help authorization can be issued.
As additional information becomes available, updates will be shared with all SMART-TD members via email, the SMART Union website and Transportation Division social media pages.
With best wishes and sincere gratitude for your continued support, I remain
Jeremy R. Ferguson President – Transportation Division
Due to an immense amount of misinformation, I would like to provide answers to some of the questions and concerns that I have been receiving over the past few weeks, as well as provide an update on where we are in the process regarding the tentative agreement (TA).
The question and answer (Q&A) period for the general chairpersons is still underway as per our constitution. The deadline for submissions is October 7th. Once the questions have been submitted, they will be checked for duplication and wording, which is estimated to take three to four days. A final single document will then be submitted to the National Carriers Conference Committee (NCCC), with whom we will meet to reach an agreement on the final answers. A meeting will promptly follow so our target date for the ballots to be sent to you, the members, can be achieved. The final Q&A will be part of the tentative agreement and will be included in its entirety for members to review before voting.
Several topics have also arisen that we would like to respond to regarding the upcoming vote every member will hopefully be casting regarding the tentative agreement:
Ballot and voting information for SMART-TD has not been put out. Per the SMART-TD Constitution, Article 21(B), Section 91, ballots and instructions cannot be sent out in any capacity until the Q&A stage of the agreement process has been met. Anyone claiming or posting on social media that they have received a ballot and instructions should be taken with caution as nothing has been authorized by my office. I will never submit material to the membership instructing them to vote YES or NO.
Contrary to certain groups and social media rumors, the SMART-TD Constitution does not allow for a non-vote to be counted as a YES vote. This protection means that EVERY vote is important. Every member of the union needs to make sure their vote is submitted, regardless of voting yes or no. The SMART Constitution clearly states: “A majority of the members voting of each of the crafts to be covered or affected by the terms of the proposed agreement shall be required to ratify the offer of settlement.” Voting is your most sacred and powerful right as a union member. Please encourage your fellow brothers and sisters to take part in the upcoming vote.
A recent accusation is circulating that if the majority of the membership votes not to ratify the tentative agreement, SMART-TD will override the NO vote and force the tentative agreement on the membership. This is materially FALSE. Your International leadership does NOT have the ability under the SMART Constitution to overturn a vote. In the event that the majority votes no, we would go back to the table until a resolution is either forced on us by Congress or a resolution that the SMART-TD membership would ratify is presented.
I would ask that you consider the source of information that is projecting this reckless and materially false information. Social media posts, news and blog articles from other sources and discussions around the yards are contributing to a large amount of misinformation being spread. These sources do not have the “inside information” as they claim. The information posted on the SMART union website and its official social media pages is THE source for completely accurate content regarding the Tentative Agreement.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact my office.
SMART Transportation Division (SMART-TD) would like to take a few moments to update the thousands of essential rail workers whom we proudly represent, the rail shippers and customers, as well as the public at large on the real status of labor negotiations and about the serious factual misrepresentations that the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and railroad representatives are stating as “FACT” surrounding the “railroad labor negotiations and the need to avert a network shutdown.” Their claims are simply not true.
Let me be clear, rail labor is NOT looking to strike or shut down the nation’s economy at the expense of everyone. We want and deserve a fair agreement for our members. We strongly believe that a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) will help us to garner that without the necessity of a strike. This does not mean that we will not do what’s necessary to get a fair agreement, but rather we expect the Railway Labor Act (RLA) to do its job as it has in the past so that it does not come to that. We are fully prepared to act if the provisions of the RLA get to the point of self-help or strike.
I was present and testified with a full team of experts in front of the Surface Transportation Board (STB) on April 26th and 27th in Washington D.C., concerning the massive network disruptions, the negative effects of Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR), and the pending supply chain collapse due to railroad mismanagement of their networks. Shippers don’t know when they will be serviced, and the workforce doesn’t know when we will be going to work. I was proud to testify to make it known that we fully support our customers’ efforts to have the reliable and consistent service that they not only deserve, but also contracted with the railroad(s) for. I made it clear then, and now do so once again, that we stand ready to do everything within our power to keep freight moving and to support this country’s supply chain and economy.
Much like the testimony delivered by the railroads and AAR at the STB hearings, again there’s a steady stream of lip service, half-truths and misleading innuendo trying to skew the truth about the status of negotiations. I would also note that, to date, the AAR has not put forth any data supporting the “fair” percentage wage increases they are proposing and “provide well-deserved compensation increases to our essential employees and are consistent with labor market benchmarks.” What they are purporting as fair is only fair in their eyes and obviously not seen as “fair” by their essential employees who are quitting their jobs in record numbers. I have been at the negotiating table. I have yet to see any fair proposals put forth by the carriers in three years of negotiations. The benchmarks they are using at the negotiating table were established well before the pandemic and inflation occurred. I would also cite the fact that due to the PSR scheme worker productivity is running at such a high level that it is literally about to snap like an overstretched cable or chain.
Assuredly, a 16% wage increase over five years is not acceptable by today’s benchmarks. The railroads’ plans to increase the employees’ share of healthcare costs to such a point that the raises become net-zero is not reflective of rail carriers’ record profits or of their desire to keep their “valued freight rail customers,” isolated from further network disruptions caused by lack of manpower. The proposed five-year increases also come below all standard cost of living metrics. The railroads these days are having a very difficult time attracting potential new employees because of their refusal to bargain in conjunction with today’s benchmarks, much in the same way that they refuse to acknowledge shippers’ need to have sufficient and reliable service in accordance with their common carrier obligations.
On multiple occasions, SMART-TD has stood up for shippers, while carriers lacked any interest in fixing the current shipping problems that worsen by the day. PSR is the reason. Everyone knows it. Legislation may be needed for a permanent fix to the problem, and I think that day is coming soon. The quickest fix is to stop the railroads from running such ridiculously long trains, which the current infrastructure can’t handle, and get back to basics now! Instead, they cajole shippers to help them save a few dollars of their record profits, wanting to tip the scales against the very people who do the work and who are chiefly responsible for getting the railroads their profits. This is appalling. By hanging the fear of service disruptions in front of the shippers, it would almost be comical if the current state of the supply chain situation were not so dire.
Meanwhile, the tales told by the mouthpieces of the carriers keep getting bigger and bigger. One such fish tale dangled in front of people mentions that labor seeks a 47% wage increase. Even the head of the National Railway Labor Conference can’t provide the evidence to document this whopper. The truth is the three biggest railroads at the negotiating table don’t want to part with ANY of their record profits, nor do they wish to reward the workers who have busted their asses for the last three years without a raise, to get them those record profits. The shareholders were rewarded with record buybacks of $10 billion. Where is the reward for the employees who are actually doing the back-breaking work to make those buybacks possible? With a stale contract that has been in effect since prior to inflation taking hold, the workers have nothing to show for their blood, sweat and tears, as well as the sacrifices they and their families have made.
Pouring on the risk and absurdity, the big 3 claim they wish to get a deal done given those “fair” proposals they’ve allegedly made. What they’re not telling everyone is that instead of negotiating with labor at the national table to get this deal done, they are instead more concerned with keeping up their mediation meetings in an attempt to get a crew-consist agreement completed to further reduce the rail workforce, thanks to the allegedly “fair” arbitrator selection process out of the previous National Mediation Board (NMB). Carriers again are attempting to go to one person occupying the cab of a freight train. (Their ultimate stated goal is zero crewmembers on trains frequently carrying hazardous freight.) Such a measure would put the safety of our communities at serious risk and the supply chain in dire jeopardy, more so than it is right now. Were carriers so concerned about a fair national agreement to stop service disruptions, one would think they would concentrate on the goal of a national agreement. Instead, carrier execs and their cronies are off for two weeks at a time trying to find a way to get rid of more employees rather than trying to come up with a fair and equitable agreement to keep the ones they now have. UNBELIEVEABLE, but not surprising!
Class 1 railroads are not just servicing their own greed and that of Wall Street, they are working against serving their own customers, their own workforce, the families of their employees, the communities they serve and the American economy. This strategy will net them those short-term monetary gains they desire at the expense of the long-term viability of the American supply chain, our national security and the long-term health of the national economy.
Lastly, I find it very offensive that the railroads, via the AAR, would reach out to the shippers to assist their efforts in advocating for so-called “fair-minded” arbitrators with rail industry experience to the Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) to help facilitate what they perceive to be a reasonable agreement and avoid network disruptions. We all know that getting a good contract for the workforce will not only stop the bleeding, but it will also help employee morale and keep the supply chain moving. Absent an enticing contract, the current workforce will continue to shrink and worsen the situation more than any other factors possibly could. I can’t stop my members from leaving the industry, but the railroads can by offering a truly fair and equitable agreement with wage increases, no changes to healthcare costs and predictable scheduling, among other asks.
To the rail customers: I urge you to respond to the AAR’s request by telling them that you support SMART-TD and labor as we have supported you. We have faith that the Railway Labor Act process will work just fine, much like it always has since 1934, and you should too. Don’t let yourselves “get railroaded” by the AAR. America’s Class 1 railroads are attempting to “railroad” customers, railroad employees, their families, and the American public, as a whole, and “attention must be paid.” Don’t listen to their propaganda. Do your research and look at the facts for what they are. I can assure you, if the carriers get what they are proposing, things will only get worse and it will be their own fault.
Jeremy R. Ferguson President, Transportation Division
SMART Transportation Division President Jeremy R. Ferguson is scheduled to be a featured witness testifying next week in a hearing before the U.S. House Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee.
The hearing on freight rail safety is scheduled 10 a.m. June 14 at the 2167 Rayburn House Office Building in Washington D.C.
“I have great anticipation to again proudly represent the members of SMART Transportation Division and to state the truth about what rail labor is encountering, as we did before the Surface Transportation Board,” President Ferguson said. “The profiteering and safety-averse business operations carriers have adopted since starting Precision Scheduled Railroading have not improved service, safety or conditions for workers. In fact, all three of these areas have deteriorated. I look forward to addressing the representatives, giving specific examples of what is happening on the ground and stating the truth before the subcommittee.”
President Ferguson will have five minutes allocated to deliver testimony and then will answer any questions to him posed by subcommittee members.
FRA Administrator Amit Bose is also expected to testify on rail safety-related topics including train length, inspection procedures and other areas.
The session will be available to stream on the U.S. House website and links will be posted on our social media accounts for members to follow the hearing live.
Today we reflect on and honor the sacrifices made by all the men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Without their protection, we would not be the country we are today, nor would we enjoy the freedoms that we do.
As a veteran of the U.S. Army, I view this holiday with great respect and solemnity. As such, this union takes seriously the duty and obligation that we must show appreciation to members of the military — those on active duty, those who have retired and those who are no longer with us. We must remember and show gratitude for all they have done to defend our country, our nation’s constitution and our people as a whole. Their sacrifices must not go unnoticed nor be forgotten.
So as we all celebrate this Memorial Day, please take a moment to reflect on what this holiday really means. Remember to take the time to reflect on the memory of those whom we have lost in defense of our country and for those who currently serve.
As a reminder, our union has many resources for veterans available — please see the links below. As we continue into June, which is PTSD awareness month (National PTSD Awareness Day is June 27), be sure to take care of yourselves and seek out help or support if you need it. More information about PTSD and treatment options are available here.
If you are suffering from PTSD and think you may hurt yourself, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 to reach a trained counselor. Use that same number and press 1 to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.