A message from IBT General President Jim Hoffa

A railraod security bill for railroad workers

Congress is once again beginning to work on behalf of working men and women in the United States. An example is the recent introduction of House Bill 2095, the Federal Railroad Safety Improvement Act of 2007 by Representatives Corrine Brown (D-FL) and James Oberstar (D-MN). Most important are the provisions that strengthen hours of service; require railroads to submit fatigue management plans to the Secretary of Transportation; create the position of Chief Safety Officer; strengthen whistleblower protections for rail workers; and require rail corporations to train rail workers on safety procedures.

When we published our "High Alert" report in 2005 we began the long road of educating members of Congress on the sorry state of rail security in our nation. Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Rep. Oberstar, Rep. Brown and many others were shocked to learn, via our own members' accounts, how truly vulnerable our rail system is. More than 70 percent of those surveyed reported seeing trespassers in their rail yards while, at the same time, hazardous materials were in a majority of the yards. With the introduction of House Bill 2095, there is hope of corrective measures that will create a more secure rail system.

Both Rep. Brown and Rep. Oberstar have been tireless advocates for rail worker safety over the years and now, with the introduction of this bill, they can put their advocacy to constructive use. I urge all of our members to contact their senators and let them know that you are a rail worker in favor of this important bill.

In addition to contacting your senators, you need to give the Teamsters Union the biggest clout you can by contributing to the BLET-PAC fund. The Teamsters Government Affairs Department works strenuously to lobby for issues affecting the rail industry, and the hundreds of other industries we represent. But, corporate America is intent on pushing their anti-worker agenda and influencing members of Congress with cash-they outspend working families by more than 17-1. The BLET-PAC fund is your shield against anti-worker forces, electing the right people to office and ensuring that big business doesn't trample our rights.

James P. Hoffa
General President




© 2007 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen