BNSF challenged on safety

CLEVELAND, March 15 -- On the heels of a March 3 switching accident on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF) in Willmar, Minn., that claimed the life of a conductor, the United Transportation Union (UTU) reports that its International President, Byron A. Boyd, Jr, has challenged the carrier to participate in a safety summit.

Citing a March 14 letter from Boyd to BNSF President and Chief Operating Officer Matthew K. Rose, the UTU characterizes the proposed summit meeting as discussing "a full range of issues related to safe rail operations and working conditions."

BLE International President Edward Dubroski responded to this news by stating, "We share President Boyd's concern about safety on the BNSF. The SACP process on that property has been disappointing, and we have begun receiving troubling reports that SOFA safety audits are being used as a disciplinary tool in some areas. On top of that, we recently learned that BNSF's genetic testing program -- which has been temporarily stopped by a federal court -- has included at least one locomotive engineer.

"I applaud President Boyd for taking this action. Safe working conditions for operating employees, and indeed for all railroad workers, is an issue that must transcend rivalries between unions. We all should unite behind this struggle," Dubroski said.


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March 15. 2001


2001 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers