Passenger News

NJ Transit to launch 'Train the Trainer'

BLE members on the New Jersey Transit are working with management to launch a "Train the Trainer" program, which should be implemented over the summer.

The program will ensure that the individuals who train apprentice engineers are properly trained themselves. The training will touch upon different "modules," such as ergonomics, fatigue management, reliable and functional safety programs, and anger management.

BLE General Chairman Bob Vallochi said it is a partnership with the carrier, but stressed that the program isn't necessarily management driven.

Vallochi says the progressive program is unique. Professionals from the National Transit Institute (NIT) at Rutgers University will assist in the training.

The pilot program is slated to begin in June and work toward full implementation over the summer.

LIRR holds annual golf tournament for charity

BLE Long Island Rail Road General Chairman Bob Evers reports that his members are preparing for the Ninth Annual Bobby McCann Memorial Golf Tournament on June 16.

The charity fundraiser is held each summer in the member of late BLE Division 269 member Bobby McCann, who died of skin cancer at the age of 41 in 1994. The event is well-attended and is held at the Middle Island Country Club.

Money raised is donated to Schneider Children's Hospital and the Skin Cancer Foundation, both in New York. Brother McCann received treatment at the hospital prior to his death and became attached to several of the children who were receiving treatment at the facility. The money is used to provide children with televisions in their hospital rooms.

Evers said participants have donated more than $50,000 to these organizations over the past nine years. He expects approximately 140 people to participate in this year's tournament. In addition to helping a good cause, Evers said the tournament also creates good will among the various railroad crafts that participate.

Those interested in playing or donating may contact the office of General Chairmen Evers by calling: (516) 932-7130.

Labor costs not to blame for Amtrak woes

Total labor costs at Amtrak, including wages and benefits, have remained constant over the past 21 years and have actually declined in real dollars, providing conclusive evidence that Amtrak's employees are not to blame for the railroad's financial troubles, according to an economic study.

"Just as the myth that Amtrak can exist without subsidy must end, so too must the myth that Amtrak workers make too much and sacrifice too little," said Edward Wytkind, Executive Director of the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department (TTD).

Wytkind released the report on behalf of the organization's rail unions in testimony on May 1 before the House Railroads Subcommittee.

The report, prepared by economist Thomas Roth of the Labor Bureau, Inc., shows that Amtrak employees earn 22 percent below the prevailing rates of their counterparts in the freight industry. In addition, the report found that as a percentage of total operating expenses, Amtrak's employment costs have not increased since 1984. The report notes that since 1980 Amtrak wage rates have fallen in real terms, increasing between 82.8 and 83.1 percent compared with the 103 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index.

For copies of the Roth study, visit (From the TTD).



© 2003 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers