Victory in U.S. House for Railroad Workers
Published: October 17th 2007
Source: Teamsters Rail Conference
WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, representatives
in the U.S. House passed the Railroad Safety Improvement Act eliminating
camp cars and decreasing limbo time, both important issues for Teamsters
rail conference members.
"Our rail members, the engineers, trainmen and maintenance of way
workers who ensure that this nation's rail system runs safely, won a
major victory with the passage of H.R. 2095 today," said Jim Hoffa,
Teamsters General President.
"We've been fighting Norfolk Southern for years about eliminating
their disgusting camp cars and finally Congress is backing us up," said
Fred Simpson, President of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way
Employes division of the Teamsters Rail Conference. "Norfolk Southern
was the last railroad to keep these substandard accommodations and we
will be glad to see them go. Our members should never have had to endure
the cramped and unsanitary conditions in those cars."
Camp cars are mobile dormitories that are used to house maintenance
of way crew members while on assignment repairing tracks. Usually the
cars house eight men each and most are not equipped with indoor toilets
or potable water. Men assigned to these cars must walk outside, even in
the dead of winter, to use porta-johns and drink bottled water because
the water in the cars is unfit to drink.
Another part of the far-reaching Act sets new limits for limbo time
for locomotive engineers and trainmen. Currently, engineers and trainmen
can work up to 20 hours per shift before they take eight hours of rest.
Since their full work day can last up to 12 hours, they might spend 8
hours or more in limbo time where they can't sleep, must remain vigilant
and are not paid for that time.
"This is a step in the right direction to impede the rail carriers'
abuse of our much needed rest time," said Don Hahs, President of the
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen.
"The passage of H.R. 2095 means that engineers and trainmen may
eventually be paid for all of the time they spend on the job. They will
also have the chance to obtain adequate rest between assignments,
Among other provisions in H.R. 2095 are:
||Restructuring of the Federal
Railroad Administration (FRA), placing greater emphasis on its
safety role and increasing substantially the number of qualified
||Creation of fatigue management
programs, a guarantee of 10 hours of undisturbed rest, and a
guarantee of one 24-hour off-duty period every seven days.
protections; a worker may refuse to authorize the use of
equipment the employee reasonably believes to be unsafe or
hazardous to operate or work with.
||Implementation of positive train
control, a technology serving as a backup device to improve the
safety of locomotive engines for all rail workers.
||Vast improvement in safety for
operations in un-signaled track, or dark territory.
||Certification of train conductors.
||A study of locomotive cab
||A requirement for emergency
breathing apparatus in all locomotive cabs.
||New regulations that would put an
end to the harassment and intimidation of rail workers who
report personal injuries.
The Teamsters Union was founded in 1903 and represents 1.4 million
hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and
Puerto Rico. The Teamsters Rail Conference is comprised of the members
of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and the members
of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees division.