Railroad Retirement disability bill passes House and Senate

In response to the unity and solidarity of Rail Labor, the U.S. Senate passed the Railroad Retirement Disability Earnings Act, H.R. 5483, by voice vote on December 9.

The House passed H.R. 5483 on September 28.

The bill will raise the outside earning limits of disabled railroad workers from $400 to $700 per month. If signed by President Bush, the measure will become effective January 1, 2007, and will also create an indexing formula to provide for automatic increases in the future. The $400 cap was established more than a decade ago.

BLET National President Don Hahs commended BLET Vice President & National Legislative Representative John Tolman for his hard work in securing passage of the bill.

Even though the bill would help disabled railroad workers, the Association of American Railroads originally opposed the bill. The unified efforts of Rail Labor convinced AAR's leadership to drop opposition in early December.

"As we all look ahead to working with a new Congress in the New Year, the railroads finally decided to do the right thing and to support this much needed piece of legislation," Vice President Tolman said. "The bill finally passed and these long overdue improvements will be extended to the Brothers and Sisters who need them.

"This legislation will make a huge difference in the lives of our disabled Brothers and Sisters. The additional $300 per month may not seem like a lot, but to a family teetering on the brink, it could be just enough to push them into solvency."




© 2006 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen