Volume 22 - Number 7
Registration for the money-saving Flexible Spending Account (FSA) begins in just over two months, and members are encouraged to take advantage of this valuable new health and welfare benefit.
The benefit has been in place on the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe property for some time, so BLET National Vice President Dennis Pierce is familiar with the FSA program.
Engineers and Trainmen belonging to BLET Division 292 (Beach City, Ohio) have overwhelmingly ratified new labor agreements for both train and engine service crafts. The BLET members are employed by the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railroad (W&LE) and are represented by the BLET's Norfolk Southern - Northern Lines/W&LE General Committee of Adjustment.
The agreement provides substantial wage increases for members and other important quality of live improvements. More significantly, the agreement protects jobs. The BLET successfully fought to maintain two-person train operations in the face of carrier demands for single person operations.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved legislation in mid-July that makes critical investments in Amtrak and rail safety. The legislation also would effectively kill the Mexican truck pilot program.
The bill appropriates $1.816 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration, which is $254 million over FY 2008, and $725 million over the President's request.
The Switching Operations Fatality Awareness (SOFA) Working Group is urging railroad workers engaged in switching operations to stay vigilant in the coming weeks. Forty-seven switching fatalities have occurred since 1992 in the months of June, July, and August.
The SOFA Working Group makes several recommendations to rail workers to help them stay safe on the job this summer.