SMART - TD Local 306

Serving Sioux City, Mason City & Eagle Grove on UPRR Former C&NW Lines

NTSB issues urgent call for improved rail tank cars - 4/7/2015

NTSB issues urgent call for improved rail tank cars

?The National Transportation Safety Board April 6 issued four urgent recommendations calling for more robust and fire-resistant rail cars to be produced to safely carry flammable liquids such as crude oil and ethanol.

In its recommendations, the Board calls for an aggressive schedule of replacing or retrofitting the current rail car fleet with better thermal protection against heat from fires, such as through a ceramic thermal blanket, and increasing the capacity of pressure relief devices.

“We can’t wait a decade for safer rail cars,” said NTSB Chairman Christopher A. Hart. “Crude oil rail traffic is increasing exponentially. That is why this issue is on our Most Wanted List of Safety Improvements. The industry needs to make this issue a priority and expedite the safety enhancements, otherwise, we continue to put our communities at risk.”

The Board said the current fleet of DOT-111 tank cars rupture too quickly when exposed to a pool fire caused by a derailment or other accident with resulting spillage and ignition. And based on a series of accidents the Board has investigated in recent months, performance of the industry’s enhanced rail car, the CPC-1232, is not satisfactory under these conditions.

“The NTSB concludes that the thermal performance and pressure relief capacity of bare steel tank cars that conform to current federal and industry requirements is insufficient to prevent tank failures from pool fire thermal exposure and the resulting overpressurization,” said the letter that included the recommendations from the Board to Acting Administrator Timothy P. Butters of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

The Board also called for swiftness in changing the fleet and called for intermediate deadlines and transparent reporting to ensure the tank car fleet is being upgraded as quickly as possible.

To view the recommendation, click on the following link:

SMART General President Nigro to retire April 30 - 3/30/2015

SMART General President Nigro to retire April 30

Joseph J. Nigro is retiring as general president of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART), effective April 30. He is stepping down in order to fully focus on recovering from a series of recent surgeries.

The SMART General Executive Council on March 12 unanimously voted to name General Secretary-Treasurer Joseph Sellers Jr. to fill the position of general president and Chief of Staff Richard McClees to fill the position of General Secretary-Treasurer.

Nigro, a career sheet metal worker from Local Union 17 in Boston, served as general president since July, 2011. In a letter to union leaders across the U.S. and Canada, he explained that, “I have committed my heart and mind to accomplishing the goals we have set, but my health has taken me in a direction I did not anticipate. Unfortunately, I have been unable to recover to a level I expect of myself as your general president – the level of effort the members deserve.”

Noting the succession plan put in place during his tenure, Nigro added, “Joseph Sellers Jr. and Richard McClees possess the leadership and management skills that will benefit the union for generations to come. I leave with a great deal of confidence, ready to improve my health and enjoy my family and friends for many more years.”

“I am grateful to our members for the steadfast support they have given me in merging our two great organizations,” Nigro said. “I have every confidence we have collectively built a team of International and local union leaders who can get the job done for the membership.”

Workers’ Memorial Day, April 28, 2015 - 3/27/2015

Workers’ Memorial Day, April 28, 2015

Workers’ Memorial Day is a day to remember those who have died while on the job and focus attention on efforts to make workplaces safer for the living, with safer working conditions.  April 28 date was chosen because it is the anniversary of the Occupational Health and Safety Act in the United States and commemorates the day of an infamous construction accident in Connecticut that claimed 28 lives.  Making a living shouldn’t have to cost you your life. Workplace fatalities, injuries, and illnesses are preventable.

Safe jobs happen because employers make the choice to fulfill their responsibilities and protect their workers.—Dr. David Michaels Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health



Foxx urged to re-evaluate impact of trucks on roads - 3/26/2015

Foxx urged to re-evaluate impact of trucks on roads

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Cory A. Booker (D-N.J) with U.S. Representatives James P. McGovern (D-Mass.) and Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) March 26 wrote to U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Anthony Foxx, urging him to review results of a 2012 DOT study on the impact of heavy commercial trucks on the nation’s roads and highways prior to publicly releasing the study results, noting their concerns with the study’s methodology and data.

“The deteriorating nature of our infrastructure can hardly be overstated. As the administration noted in its proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2016, ‘65 percent of America’s roads are rated in less than good condition,’” they wrote. “DOT has taken several steps to conduct the study, and we appreciate DOT’s focus on the issue…as we noted in letters last Congress, there appeared to be conflicts of interest in the selection of the study’s contractor and the bases of its findings on flawed data and poor methodology. These issues must be addressed and corrected.”

“It is troubling that DOT could release a study that recommends bigger, heavier trucks that will lead to more potholes and even greater problems – like safety risks, environmental damage, and economic harm – not to mention higher expenses to maintain our infrastructure. For these and so many other reasons, DOT needs to fix the fatal flaws inherent in the study that is now underway.”

Read the complete letter here.

Bill to extend PTC implementation delays safety - 3/25/2015

Bill to extend PTC implementation delays safety

The SMART Transportation Division, in conjunction with Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, issued the following statement on the U.S. Senate markup of a Positive Train Control (PTC) extension bill:

“A five-year extension of the deadline by which Positive Train Control (PTC) technology must be implemented cannot be considered in a vacuum or in isolation. Rail employees, first responders, and communities have witnessed too many deadly freight and passenger rail accidents in recent years, including those involving the transport of crude oil and other hazardous materials. While the causes of these accidents vary, we know that passing long overdue safety reforms – not just simply delaying implementation of PTC – will make rail transportation safer.

“We unveiled a plan outlining measures that Congress can implement in order to improve both passenger and freight rail safety. That plan includes mandating at least two qualified crewmembers on every train; addressing chronic fatigue among rail employees; and requiring use of common sense technology such as alerters and shunting. We also released reforms to make hazardous materials transportation safer, including a call for better support and training for first responders and stronger tank car and inspection standards.

“A blanket five-year extension of PTC is the wrong approach. We understand that some of the reasons for delay in implementing PTC are outside the control of the railroads, but these companies could have done more to meet this mandate. Any extension should be of shorter duration and considered on a case-by-case basis while requiring carriers to submit a plan for how they will meet an extended deadline.

“At a time when the safety of rail transportation is gaining much-needed attention, it makes no sense for the Senate to only move a bill that delays implementation of life-saving technology without considering comprehensive safety reforms.”


SMART UTU Local 306

No job is so important, no service is so urgent that we cannot take the time to perform our work safely!

Your Local Officers are here to protect you - help us all by calling when you need assistance!  Don't settle for the carrier's attitutude toward you - be involved!


YOUR Union Meetings are:

Eagle Grove - 2nd Wednesday of each Month; Godfather's Pizza at 8:00 pm

Mason City - 3rd Wednesday in January, April, July, October; Pizza Ranch at 7:30 pm

Sioux City - 2nd Tuesday in March, June, September, December; Ramada Inn at 11:00


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