SMART - TD Local 306

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


Canadian rails fight new rules to prevent crew fatigue - 10/29/2014

Canadian rails fight new rules to prevent crew fatigue

Canada’s major freight rail companies are fighting moves by the federal transportation regulator to curb “extreme fatigue” among railway engineers, a CBC News investigation has found.

CN Rail, CP and the Railway Association of Canada went on the attack two weeks ago at a “tense and heated” meeting of industry, union and government representatives, according to a number of people present.

The conflict was over research by Transport Canada that found high levels of exhaustion among workers driving freight trains, and proposals by the regulator to impose new limits on scheduling to help reduce their fatigue.

Read more from CBCNews.

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It definitely matters whom we elect to Congress - 10/24/2014

It definitely matters whom we elect to Congress

 

Congressional elections do matter. Actions of Congress can make a big difference when it comes to our job security, our wages, our fringe benefits, our retirement and safety in our workplace.

In this issue of the SMART Transportation Division News are our official endorsements for the Nov. 4 election. These endorsements are based on recommendations from our state legislative boards which, with our national office, reviewed the voting records of incumbent lawmakers and conducted thorough interviews with new candidates seeking national office.

Our constitution requires that we make these endorsements and we take this obligation seriously. A full listing of how Congressional legislators voted on issues important to our members can be found on the Transportation Division website at www.utu.org by clicking on the 2014 Voter Information tile at the bottom right corner of the homepage.

The upcoming session of Congress will be a busy one. We will be working to pass legislation requiring a minimum of two persons – a certified conductor and a certified engineer – working on all trains. One current bill, Senate Bill S. 2784 – the Rail Safety Improvement Act, is reported on page 1 of this publication.

We will be working to see that our transit systems and Amtrak receive the funding they so desperately need. Likewise, we will be working to make sure that the National Mediation Board receives the funding it needs to resolve disputes in the workplace in a timely manner. We will be working with our Sheet Metal brothers and sisters on issues important to the construction industry and to ensure that the Essential Air Service program is properly funded.

Electing labor-friendly legislators is the key to our success. Our Legislative Department can be the best in the business, but if this election produces a Congress in which a majority of its members don’t even believe in the fundamental rights of workers, our efforts to protect our members’ jobs, paychecks, benefits, retirement income and workplace safety will be much harder.

We all have our personal views about life and the government. I understand that we have members that are Democrats, Republicans, independents, Tea Party Libertarians, Green Party environmentalists and just about every flavor out there. While I appreciate our diversity, I urge you to take into consideration the endorsements in this newspaper when you cast your ballot.

These endorsements were based on issues like support for two-person train crews, Amtrak, the coal industry, mass transportation funding, and other work-related issues.

Our endorsed incumbents have supported our work-related issues and the endorsed candidates have pledged to do so.

Neither I nor anyone else in our union tells anyone “how to vote.” What we do is fulfill our constitutional responsibility to endorse those that we believe will support us once they’re elected. To do anything less would be shirking our constitutional responsibility.

Come Nov. 4, no matter whom you choose to vote for…choose to vote. If your state has early or absentee voting, take advantage of this opportunity, especially if you work a road job or an extra-board.

I look forward to serving each of you as your National Legislative Director and pledge to do my best. That being said, our legislative department’s odds of success will be much better if you send folks to Congress that support our issues.

John Risch

National Legislative Director
SMART Transportation Division

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Nigro: Dialogue is a two-way street - 10/23/2014

Nigro: Dialogue is a two-way street

 

By Joe Nigro, 
SMART General President – 

The First SMART General Convention represented a new beginning for all of us. So, now is the time to take advantage of the opportunity and begin forging a path to ensure the dialogue between the leadership and convention delegates at our convention extends to an open communication between our membership and their elected leaders.

As a first step, we have to recognize that a dialogue can only exist when both parties participate and the quickest way to harm an organization is by ignoring the voice of the membership.

I believe our members can and will speak up when they trust that their voices will be heard.

The only way to build that trust is through transparency and accountability. If members feel they can trust their leaders, they will lend their support to the organization and make meaningful contributions to the discussion.

A quiet membership eventually devolves into an ailing union. A quiet membership becomes disinterested and apathetic, allowing its leaders to do as they please without any accountability.

Without involvement by the membership, the dues a member pays become nothing more than another unwanted deduction. That will not become the legacy of this organization.

I encourage everyone to take the opportunity to attend local union meetings, ask questions of your leadership, and learn about the ways your union can assist you and how you can assist your fellow brothers and sisters. The more active and aware you become, the better our union will represent you.

Also, keep in mind that within any organization news travels fast, but is often not always accurate. Sometimes rumors and innuendo are advanced by individuals on the outside whose goals do not align with yours.

Let your leaders know when you hear something that doesn’t seem right. Getting answers before we pass something on can stop those who wish to divide us and will show them we are a united union.

Let’s squash those rumors and get moving on making this union as strong and as vibrant as possible.

Finally, if you’re unhappy with the direction of the organization on any level, or feel you are not receiving the representation you deserve, call your leadership and let them know how you feel.

I strongly believe in having an open door policy that allows members to voice their concerns. I also believe that when it comes to leadership, I hold myself to the same standards that I expect of other elected representatives in this organization, along with our staff.

This is why I am including my telephone number here – (202) 662-0800 – so you can contact me with any of your questions or complaints.

You may not like my answers or what I tell you, but I do promise, you will at least have a voice.

Always remember, this is your union.

Fraternally,

Joseph J. Nigro
SMART?General President

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Local Elections Update - 10/10/2014

Local Elections Update  (10/10/2014 update)

At the close of October 8th SMART-TD Local 306 business meeting, there was only one nomination made for each office.  This means that the member so nominated will be declared elected on the day set for the elections.  This will take place at the November 12th meeting, 2000 hours at Eagle Grove Godfather's Pizza.  Please contact a Local Officer with any questions.

Local Elections Update - Nomination and Election Procedures  (9/23/2014 update)

Elections for SMART-Transportation Division (UTU) Local 306 will be held in November for both Local Officers and Local Committees of Adjustment.  Per SMART Constitution Article 21B, nominations must be filed with the Secretary no later than the last meeting in October.  If nominating by petition, at least five (5) members eligible to vote shall sign the petition.

Please contact a Local Officer or refer to SMART Constitution Article 21B Sections 56-58 with questions regarding the nomination and election process.

The October monthly meeting will be October 8th, starting at 2000 hours at Godfather's Pizza, Eagle Grove, IA.

The November monthly meeting will be November 12th, starting at 2000 hours at Godfather's Pizza, Eagle Grove, IA.

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Healthcare open enrollment online until Nov. 1 - 10/2/2014

Healthcare open enrollment online until Nov. 1

Railroad employees covered under National Railway Carriers/UTU Health and Welfare Plan or the Railroad Employees’ National Health and Welfare Plan were mailed a notification of the online open enrollment period that began Oct. 1, 2014, and ends Nov. 1, 2014. The information should be specific to the current enrollment for you and your eligible dependents.

The online enrollment capability provides the ability to view your personal information, add, delete and update dependent information, view enrollment materials, enroll in benefits for next year, and receive an immediate confirmation statement. There is no need to mail in a paper enrollment form. However, if you need assistance, have questions or require a paper enrollment kit, call Railroad Enrollment Services at (800) 753-2692.

The enrollment website can be found at https://www.yourtracktohealth.com (formerly known as the Railroad Information Depot).

You are encouraged to visit the online enrollment site and review all the information available. Use the log-in instructions at the end of this article to access and review your personal information and spend some time learning about the benefits and resources available on the site.

You will also be able to search medical provider networks.

It is required that covered dependent Social Security numbers (SSN) be provided to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Please supply the missing SSN on the Dependent Information screen.

If you are currently enrolled in the Health Flexible Spending Account, the election and yearly contribution will not rollover to the new plan year. You must enroll in your Health Flexible Spending Account every year.

  • Click “Login” located in the upper right corner of the screen.
  • If you have already registered, enter your username and password.
  • If you have not yet registered, select “New User?” at the bottom of the screen to complete your registration.

Once logged in, select the option to “Enroll Now for 2015,” located in the upper left corner of the screen.

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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!

 

2015 Vacation Bid Forms are available in the 'Downloads' section under 'UTU Documents' - turn in completed forms to your Local Chairman - please contact a Local Union Officer with your questions about seniority based vacations.

 

 

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 - As Needed 

 

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