CSX: 'Wrong way' on discipline

'Despicable actions' by CSX as railroad sets quotas for intimidating injured workers

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and the United Transportation Union have told CSX CEO Michael Ward to stop the "targeted selective stalking, harassment and intimidation of its train and engine service crews."

In an Aug. 4 jointly signed letter to Ward, BLET President Don Hahs and UTU President Paul Thompson provided evidence that CSX officials have instructed lower level supervisors to fulfill discipline quotas in an orchestrated effort to intimidate injured CSX employees from reporting on-the-job injuries and marking off sick - actions the Federal Railroad Administration has condemned in the past and said would be turned over to the Justice Department for investigation and prosecution if found to continue.

Hahs and Thompson cited a CSX Southern Region 2006 Safety Action Plan, updated in June, which orders CSX supervisors to identify so-called "bad actors" at each on-duty location.

Harassment and intimidation of operating employees is a widespread practice in the railroad industry and is something that is not specifically limited to CSX. However, it's rare, if not unprecedented, to see a blatant management directive such as this in writing.

In one case, two CSX supervisors told an injured employee the following:

"[Y]ou've got a long career ahead of you and you don't want personal injuries on your record so you need to try to work with us."

"By federal law, once you have an injury, we have to give you more tests. Everybody sees this once the paperwork goes in. If there is no paperwork turned in then nobody sees it. All I'm trying to do is keep this thing from going reportable. We are just trying to keep from having a reportable injury."

"If you have to seek medical attention we will have to show you an efficiency test failure and it will go to investigation."

When that employee said he still wanted to seek medical attention he was notified later that day that CSX had filed charges against him.

The CSX Southern Region Safety Action Plan instructed CSX supervisors to target 1 percent of T&E employees.

These despicable actions are in direct contrast to what CSX says on its website: "Accident and injury reporting is important for several reasons, not the least of which is the collection of data and root causes that can be used in an effective program of prevention." The targeting of CSX employees also is in direct contrast to a CSX video, "Right Results, Right Way."

The CSX video, produced about six years ago and directed at company officers, explained the "right way" and the "wrong way" to interact with injured employees. What CSX is doing today is exactly what the video says is the "wrong way."

"CSX has taken a 180 degree turn and abandoned the standards previously established by a constructive, positive and progressive thinking rail carrier," Hahs and Thompson told Ward in their joint letter.

"CSX's new campaign is nothing more than a stalking, harassment and intimidation adventure which will reap no benefits and prove to be destructive to all involved. The good intentions and ground work initially set in place are appearing to be nothing more than a façade," Hahs and Thompson wrote.

"Additionally, we have learned that these employees are being targeted specifically for random rules tests and being marked for investigation for any test failures," Hahs and Thompson wrote.

"We request your immediate involvement and investigation of this coordinated stalking, harassment and intimidation of T&ES employees."

 

 

© 2006 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen