Railroad Retirement legislation
rolls in Congress
Rail labor lobbyists made great strides in securing support for the Railroad
Retirement and Survivors' Improvement Act of 2001 in both the House and
Senate during March, but negative statements from the White House threaten
to derail timely passage of the legislation.
BMWE, BLE derail BNSF genetic
In a major victory for organized labor and workers' rights, the Burlington
Northern Santa Fe Railway Company has settled a lawsuit filed by the Brotherhood
of Maintenance of Way Employes in February to stop the coercive genetic
testing of its employees by BNSF, the BMWE and the Brotherhood of Locomotive
Engineers announced on April 9.
The BMWE filed suit on February 9 against BNSF and Athena Diagnostics
in Sioux City, Iowa (Western Division of the U.S. District Court for the
Northern District of Iowa) and was soon joined by the BLE, seeking "to
remedy the illegal, compulsory regime of genetic testing of injured employees"
by the BNSF.
BLE, UTU to hold safety summit
The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLE) and the United Transportation
Union (UTU) will hold a joint safety summit with management of the Burlington
Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) on April 30 in Kansas City, Mo.
The original call for the summit came from UTU International President
Byron A. Boyd Jr., on March 14. After BLE International President Edward
Dubroski applauded the initiative, stating that "safe working conditions
for operating employees, and indeed for all railroad workers, is an issue
that must transcend rivalries between unions," Boyd proposed that both
unions participate in the summit together.
Biased report threatens Amtrak
In another misguided and biased report, the Amtrak Reform Council on
March 20 proposed dividing Amtrak into separate companies -- one responsible
for train operations, a second government-owned corporation to oversee tracks
and stations, and a third consolidated government oversight agency.
The main flaw with the proposal, however, is that it's been tried in
Great Britain -- where it failed miserably.