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BLET pursues two-person crew bill in New York

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, January 30 — The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) is mobilizing its members in the State of New York to lobby in favor of a statewide two-person crew bill. Earlier this month, Senate Bill S7151 was introduced by Sen. Timothy M. Kennedy (D-63) and a companion bill, A9090, was introduced in the State Assembly by Assemblyman William Magnarelli (D-129).

Brother William J. Fleischmann, Chairman of the BLET New York State Legislative Board, thanked Senator Kennedy and Assemblyman Magnarelli for introducing and sponsoring the bill. Brother Fleischman noted that Senator Kennedy serves as Chairman of the State’s Transportation Committee while Assemblyman Magnarelli serves as Chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee.

The bills would mandate that all freight trains have at least two persons on the train: a certified locomotive engineer and a certified conductor. The Senate Bill reads in part:

“This bill is intended to protect New Yorkers by requiring trains and light engines carrying freight within New York to be operated with a crew of no less than two members. This bill is intended to protect not only the public, but railroad workers as well. In recent years, new technology has made railroads safer; however nothing can replace an extra set of eyes and ears when it comes to public safety. It is nearly impossible for a single operator in an emergency situation to properly assess the situation, secure the train, and notify police, fire and other necessary officials all at once. Currently, the federal government and other states are working on ways to increase railroad safety, and at this point, nearly 20 states have introduced or enacted minimum crew legislation. Requiring two-person crews is a straightforward way of ensuring the safety of our railways here in New York State.”

Brother Fleischmann is urging all BLET members living in the state of New York, along with their friends and family members, to get involved and to speak with their Senators and Representatives personally about these bills.

To find your New York State Senator’s phone number, click on the “Find your Senator” page at: https://www.nysenate.gov/find-my-senator and enter your address, city/town and zip code.

To find your New York State Assemblyman’s phone number, click on the “Find your Assemblyman” page at: https://nyassembly.gov/mem/search and enter your address, city/town and zip code.

In 2019, state governors in Illinois, Nevada and Colorado signed two-person crew bills into law in an effort to make train operations in their states as safe as possible.

You may not actually speak with your Senator or Assemblyman, so ask for the staff member who handles labor or transportation issues. Please be respectful to them, just as you would if speaking with your Senator or Assemblyman personally. Tell them that you would like them to co-sponsor S7151 in the Senate or A9090 in the House, and let them know that safe freight operations depend on two certified crew members to ensure the safety of train movements and timely responses to emergencies when they occur.

Thursday, January 30, 2020
bentley@ble-t.org

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