SMART - TD Local 306

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


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

 

safe-jobs-save-lives-poster_large

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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.

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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.”

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Two-person train crew bill advances in Minn. Senate - 3/23/2015

Two-person train crew bill advances in Minn. Senate

The Minnesota Senate Committee on Transportation and Public Safety and the Senate Committee on Judiciary have approved legislation requiring two qualified train-crew personnel on all trains in the state with bipartisan support.

Senate File 918 is now before the full Minnesota Senate.

“The policy language is very narrow to assure that we can prevail under any test of federal pre-emption from the carriers,” said SMART Transportation Division Minnesota State Legislative Director Phillip Qualy. “We are emphasizing public safety as we must because that is what this is about. We have set forth that Amtrak and passenger rail operations are included under this legislation.”

“In event any train should run with one person, the second and subsequent fine is for $1,000 for each train.”

In his testimony before the Committee on Judiciary March 19, Qualy said, “Railroads have two persons on all trains. Our S.F. 918 poses no undue burden on commerce. Regarding grade crossing emergency response, for the railroad workers of Minnesota, I submit that we simply cannot leave injured persons lying unattended in the ditches of Minnesota.” Read Qualy’s complete testimony here.

Unfortunately, Qualy said, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has so far refused to hear companion legislation House File 1166, to date.

“We are sending a letter of appeal to the Republican leadership with the amended Senate language that originated from bipartisan Senate recommendations,” he said.

“We’ve had a good week thus far, but we are far, far away from passing this state legislation into law. The Minnesota Legislative Board thanks all of our members who attended the hearings this week. We also want to thank our good friend, Mr. Larry Mann, who assisted the board and testified in support of this important legislation.”

“The board thanks Minnesota Assistant State Legislative Director Nicholas Katich (1067), Designated Legal Counsel Cortney LeNeave and Ron Barzcak, Minnesota AFL-CIO Legislative Director Jennifer Schaubach, and most importantly, State Sen. Ann Rest (DFL-Dist. 45), who authored and sponsored this legislation.

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BNSF to begin using aerial drones with cameras - 3/23/2015

BNSF to begin using aerial drones with cameras

Website Xconomy.com is reporting that BNSF Railway will begin using aerial drones equipped with cameras to “conduct regular inspections of railway infrastructure and rights of way.”

According to the Federal Aviation Administration website, any operation that does not meet the statutory criteria for a public aircraft operation is considered a civil aircraft operation and must be conducted in accordance with all FAA regulations applicable to the operation.

A recent report in the St. Cloud Times says BNSF received an exemption to operate unmanned aerial vehicles for “evaluation and analysis of railroad infrastructure and operations.”

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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!

 

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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