Sunday, July 21, 2013

Time for a Mass Effort to Stop Single Employee Train Crews!

Time for a Mass Effort to Stop Single Employee Train Crews!

July 21st, 2013

Finally, after years of effort, we have some movement on the vital issue of single employee train operations from one of the unions of the operating crafts! We in RWU will hold BLET president Dennis Pierce to his word and expect no further concessions towards single employee train crew operations. The conflict between the unions of the operating crafts over the last decade or so has crippled us. It has enabled the rail carriers to first implement RCO, then move to single employee RCO operations, and in recent years has allowed the door to be opened to single employee operations on the road.

RWU will be monitoring the situation closely. Given the no-nonsense get-tough rhetoric on the part of President Pierce, we fully expect nothing less than to see the BLET spearhead what he suggests: "a nationwide effort to end single-person operations." And we call on the Sheet Metal Workers International Association (UTU) to rise to the occasion, to issue its own statement on the issue, and to fight alongside the BLET to end the practice at once.

RWU stands ready to assist in any and every possible way to facilitate unity between these two organizations and to build the national campaign to outlaw single employee train operations. Our record since our Founding Convention on this is solid. In fact, when the carriers first outlined their proposal for single employee operations November 1st of 2004, that was the catalyst that galvanized railroaders to form Railroad Operating Crafts United (ROCU) which would go on to form Railroad Workers united in 2008.

In recent weeks, a spotlight has been shined on the whole issue of single employee train operations. More than ever, rail labor has the urgency and the necessity to go on the offensive on this issue. Through unity and solidarity of the operating crafts and their respective unions, we have the prospect to rid North America of the scourge of single employee train operations. It's time to build a mass movement of rail labor and our allies -- the rest of the working class, environmental and community groups -- to ensure the two-person crew on every train, both road and yard. Let's get busy!

In solidarity,

Ron Kaminkow

RWU General Secretary

“We need to have faith in each other. We are in precisely the same position. We depend absolutely on each other. We know that without solidarity, nothing is possible, and that with solidarity, nothing is impossible.”
Eugene V. Debs, Founder of the American Railway Union

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