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FRA publishes interpretations governing new Hours of Service law

CLEVELAND, June 26 — The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has published a series of interpretations pertaining to new Hours of Service laws taking effect for certain freight railroad workers, including operating crews, on July 16.

The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 made significant changes in Hours of Service requirements governing BLET members. Among the major changes are:

• Increases to the amount of off-duty time required between work tours and a prohibition against a railroad interrupting that time;

• Caps on the number of service hours and limbo time hours; and

• Mandatory days off when someone initiates a tour of duty on six or more consecutive days.

The interpretations explain how FRA will enforce the new Hours of Service laws. Currently, they are of an interim nature and FRA has asked interested parties to comment on the interpretations. The National Division, in conjunction with the National Legislative Office, is reviewing the interpretations and will file appropriate comments.

National President Edward Rodzwicz urges all BLET members to become familiar with the interpretations.

“Big changes are coming in a few weeks for BLET members working in freight service,” President Rodzwicz said. “All members should download the interpretations and review them in preparation for July 16.”

President Rodzwicz also noted that General Chairmen whose properties will be affected by these changes, with the support of the National Division, are continuing to attempt to negotiate a smooth transition for the implementation of these changes.

The interpretations were published in today’s edition of the Federal Register and can be viewed, printed and downloaded via this link (13 pages).

Friday, June 26, 2009
bentley@ble-t.org

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