Rail workers' anti-terrorism efforts aided by Senate action
The Rail Security Act of 2004 (S. 2273), approved by the Senate Commerce Committee, includes several provisions that are first steps in strengthening rail workers' ability to protect their passengers and the nation's rail industry from terrorist attack, according to AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department president Edward Wytkind.
Thanks to the leadership of Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), the bill provides rail workers with whistle-blower protections that prohibit retribution or retaliation by management against workers who report rail security lapses. "The men and women who work in passenger and freight rail have a first-hand perspective on what is really happening in their industry. They must be able to share this with both management and law enforcement without worrying that it could somehow cost them their job," Wytkind said.
Additionally, the bill approved today requires Amtrak to adopt a system-wide security plan that includes measures to train workers on security awareness, emergency response, and passenger evacuation training. It also provides funding to better secure tunnels, stations, and trains, as well as to hire additional security personnel.
"There are ways the bill can and should be strengthened, including a curb on the dangerous practice of remote control locomotives and improvements to the whistle-blower provisions.
"We intend to work with Congress over the coming weeks to do just that. We will not rest until all transportation workers are given the full protections and resources they must have," Wytkind said.
© 2004 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen