A message from Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa

Victory in the U.S. House

Important rail legislation was voted on in October in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Railroad Safety Improvement Act of 2007, HR 2095, encompassed many issues that affect rail workers of all crafts, and we made sure that Congress was well aware of our concerns. The elimination of camp cars was of utmost concern to our brothers and sisters of the Maintenance of Way Employes Division, and we helped facilitate lobbying and other grassroots member activism to help guide our representatives' decision. I wrote every member of the U.S. House to let them know that that Teamsters Union was behind each and everyone one of our rail members on this issue.

It was apparent to all that Norfolk Southern has a dim view of its employees since they were the only railroad system left in the U.S. which still utilized camp cars. Norfolk Southern is making millions of dollars in profits each year, reaping the rewards of a basically noncompetitive railroad freight market and they continue housing their employees in substandard conditions.

Also included in the House bill were provisions to correct limbo time limits that affect locomotive engineers and trainmen, as well as a provision for protecting workers against company retaliation, frequently called whistle-blower protections. When the vote passed in the House with a 377 to 38 majority, we claimed a hard won victory. This is a great step in improving the working and living conditions on the railroads. I want to thank the BLET members who were able to come to Capitol Hill and helped lobby Congress on this issue.

But now our attention is focused on the Senate where a similar or companion bill is being readied for a vote. We will be fighting alongside you to help ensure that the best bill is passed in the Senate, too.


James P. Hoffa
General President



© 2007 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen