Rail Workers Demand “Immediate Action” From Lawmakers to Rein in Rail Industry

Employees say stopping future crashes just like the one in East Palestine might be easy, if lawmakers select to behave.

Railroad staff are warning that, if policymakers don’t act quickly to rein within the rail business with higher rules and protections for staff, there shall be much more crashes like this month’s catastrophe in East Palestine, Ohio.

In a press release on Friday, rail reform group Railroad Employees United (RWU) identified that the federal government has decided that the Ohio crash was “100% preventable.” The Nationwide Transportation Security Board (NTSB) wrote in a report about the crash launched final week that “Each single occasion that we examine is preventable,” RWU famous.

RWU referred to as for politicians to take instant motion on the rail business by implementing new rules and strengthening current guidelines. They are saying that the business has regularly “prioritized earnings over security” by implementing excessive cost-cutting measures in latest a long time whereas dismissing staff’ issues about security.

“Day-after-day we go to work, we have now critical issues about stopping accidents just like the one which occurred in Ohio,” stated RWU common secretary Jason Doering. “As locomotive engineers, conductors, sign maintainers, automotive inspectors, monitor staff, dispatchers, machinists, and electricians, we expertise the truth that our jobs have gotten more and more harmful because of inadequate staffing, insufficient upkeep, and an absence of oversight and inspection.”

“Railroad staff expertise firsthand on daily basis the hazards inherent on this type of railroading. It has impacted their security and well being, frame of mind, and lives on and off the job,” added RWU co-chair Gabe Christenson.

The group is looking on Congress and authorities businesses to require that trains be staffed with a minimal of two folks; whereas there may be presently a proposed rule for this, RWU has stated that it incorporates loopholes that may be exploited by the business, which is fighting against the rule. RWU says that railroads ought to moreover be made to comply with fundamental security guidelines like prepare size and weight caps, in addition to correct upkeep for rail infrastructure.

RWU additionally referred to as for “ample” day without work for staff throughout the business, who presently face the “harassment of draconian attendance insurance policies.” The rail business’s excessive attendance insurance policies had been a significant difficulty in final yr’s rail union contract showdown and have been a continuous drawback as staff had been denied assured sick depart within the contract that Congress and President Joe Biden compelled upon them final yr.

“We demand that the railroad be run safely, effectively, and professionally, and never as some ‘money cow’ for Wall Avenue traders and billionaires,” stated Hugh Sawyer, RWU Treasurer. “A lot of what’s flawed with the rail business in the present day may be mounted simply and rapidly.”

On the root of lots of the security and labor points is a system referred to as precision scheduled railroading, staff have stated. Precision scheduled railroading is a cost-cutting efficiency system utilized by rail business giants to chop down on labor and prices that staff have stated are compromising the security of rail staff and the general public.

In the meantime, the system has allowed hedge funds and rich rail homeowners like Warren Buffett to spice up their very own wealth with enormous earnings for the rail business — earnings made off the backs of rail staff’ labor and on the expense of their security. For example, Norfolk Southern, the corporate behind the Ohio crash, recently reported document revenues in 2022, marking an earnings of $4.8 billion final yr.

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