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RRB Labor Member update: Field Offices remain closed, FAQs available

(BLET Editor’s Note: The following is a message to Rail Labor from John Bragg, Labor Member of the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board.)

CHICAGO, October 11 — Last year at this time, I expected that I would be able to share with you by now news about how the Railroad Retirement Board’s (RRB) Field Offices were again open to the public. Unfortunately, circumstances are not as I had hoped and our Field Offices remain closed to the public. However, I did want to share with you some information which may be helpful to your membership.

As I am sure you are aware, because of the closure of the Field Offices, inquiries to our toll-free number have increased significantly, which has been accompanied by an increase in wait times to speak with an RRB representative. Oftentimes, the answers to the questions the callers have are available online at the RRB’s website. Previously, the information was sometimes not easy to find. Recently, we consolidated information regarding the most commonly asked questions and have provided links to more information on a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page, accessible from the home page of the RRB’s website at www.rrb.gov. We hope this will prove to be a resource that will quickly provide answers to some questions, reduce the need to dial in and, as a result, reduce wait times.

Another avenue which we are taking to improve customer service is to focus on adding staff. For many years, extremely difficult choices had to be made in allocating financial resources, as any attempt at IT modernization had to typically be funded from our regular budget. Fortunately, the hard work over the past few years by rail labor has paid off and we now have the financial resources to focus on our staffing without the additional worry on how to pay for IT improvements. Our IT modernization plan, however, is a multi-year project and IT improvements will not be readily available to the end user. Until that time, we hope to increase staff in our Field Offices as well as at our Headquarters to address the needs of railroad employees and their families.

Monday, October 11, 2021

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