Monday, June 9, 2014

Resolution Demanding Justice for Injured Railroader Whistleblowers

Resolution Demanding Justice for Injured Railroader Whistleblowers

Whereas, railroad workers who are injured on the job have a right to a workplace free from management reprisal, harassment, crimination and discipline; and

Whereas, the rail carriers are involved in a systematic widespread wholesale violation of the law on an everyday basis when they discipline, harass, terminate and otherwise take reprisal against injured workers; and

Whereas the RSIA, which makes provision for whistleblower protections, has in fact done little or nothing to deter the carriers from this illegal and despicable behavior; and

Whereas the entire whistleblower process is so cumbersome and arcane, so long and drawn out, that most workers cannot or will not navigate their way through it; and

Whereas, a worker who does choose to assert her/his rights and make use of the law is in fact penalized by what is often further harassment from the carrier, and upon winning a verdict, finds that the carrier simply, as a matter of course – endlessly appeals any and all worker victories; and

Whereas, more than a thousand rails have filed whistleblower complaints, an indication of a widespread problem, an indication that the industry is rife with blatant abuse of the law; and

Whereas the individual fight of each and every whistleblower is a fight on behalf of the collective whole of all railroad workers;

Therefore be it resolved that RWU does hereby call out the law for what it is in practice – a sham and a farce that in fact appears to help the carriers more than the injured workers; and
Be it further resolved, that RWU work to create a “Whistleblower Coalition” of railroad workers who have been ensnared in this fiasco, in order to bring them together to share their experiences, wisdom, resources, information and ideas; and

Be it further resolved that RWU supports amending the law in order that upon winning, the worker be immediately be put back to work and receive full award pending any and all carrier appeal, and that the rail carrier face stiffer fines and penalties should such an appeal fail; and
Be it finally resolved that RWU calls upon rail labor to join with us in condemning this farce and to take action to bring justice to injured railroad workers.

Adopted by the RWU Steering Committee June 3rd, 2014
Railroad Workers United
Unity—Solidarity—Democracy: The Rank and File in Action!
(206) 984-3051  PO Box 1053, Salem, IL 62881

Friday, June 6, 2014

Casey Jones in #LacMegantic

Casey Jones in #LacMegantic
JP Wright

Come all railroaders cause I want ya to hear,
a story bout a fellow Engineer.
Tom Harding is the hogger’s name
and for the crimes of Ed Burkhart they’s  tryin’ to blame.

Ol’ fast Eddie’s train blew up that town,
He just keeps on spreading the disasters around,
Wisconsin, Quebec and overseas-
But they want to frame our brother, while ED runs free.

When the town of Lac-Megantic went up in flames,
Eddie saw nothing wrong with a one man train!
The Government said “OK, with one employee,”
and this oil boom is making a ton of cash for me.

The people of Lac-Megantic said it was not fair
for fast Eddie to go around railroadin’ everywhere.
Buyin’ short-lines just to run em’ in the ground,
making arrogant statements while we burn to the ground!

Now down in the good ol’ US of A,
there’s a big bad fight going on today.
On a short-line rail in Ohio land,
the W&LE wants to run one-man.

This fight's been going on for quite some time,
the workers have been out on the picket line,
The talks are stalled and at a stalemate,
because the "one-man plan" they won’t negotiate!

So people of Ohio, you’d better listen up!
what town do you want the railroad to blow up?
There’s was nothing safe about a one man train
when poor Lac-Megantic went up in flames!

Old fast Eddie, he blew up a town,
Now they want to spread disasters around,
A one man train you know it 'aint safe!
Say NO to the route the railroads want to take!

 While the unions are fighting in Washington Town,
we better get some boots down here on the ground.
Federal law trumps the law in the states,
all the tools in the box, is what it’s gonna take.

So listen to the moral of this story,
like Casey Jones of old in History.
The worker gets the blame, especially when dead,
Cause the government and railroads share the same bed!

Casey Jones there’s a lot of them around,
Casey Jones won’t put the reverser down.
Casey Jones on the W&LE,
is needin' quite a bit of solidarity!

Come all you trainmen and you engineers
All you workers from both far and near
Let's support our fellow workers on the W&LE

And together in this fight we can make history!

Railroad Workers Memorial Day is Friday, June 13th

Railroad Workers Memorial Day is Friday, June 13th

Railroad Workers United will observe Railroad Workers Memorial Day once again this Fathers’ Day Friday, June 13th, 2014. This will be the sixth year that we have observed a day in honor of all fellow railroad workers killed on the job. The initial inspiration for Railroad Workers Memorial Day came when Jared Boehlke, a young conductor, was killed on Mothers’ Day, 2009 while working a single employee RCO job in the bowl in Selkirk, NY. RWU called for a day of remembrance and action for that Fathers’ Day Friday a month later. Since then, we have called on railroad workers and their allies to wear black shirts every year on this date as a way to not just remember and honor those killed on the job, but to take action in support of better safety measures to prevent such tragedies.

Each year we have tended to focus on a specific incident, issue, or rail property. At the RWU Convention in Chicago, those present tentatively agreed to focus on Metro North, the New York based commuter railroad with a horrendous safety record. In the last twelve months Metro North has suffered a series of train wrecks and track worker fatalities. In the wake of a wreck that killed four passengers and injured dozens more, the FRA has cited the railroad as having a “deficient safety culture”. Federal inspectors found more than 7,000 defects and deficiencies within the Metro North Railroad system over ten years. Among the problems revealed in the report were track inspections that found broken or cracked joint bars, loose rail braces and missing bolts. FRA inspections found five times as many issues per 100 miles of track as similar inspections on other commuter railroads!

For a railroad long considered the “gold standard” for the region’s commuter systems, the recent debacle on MN has now revealed that the railroad in fact has lacked safety features that had been in place on some other railroads for decades. Apparently, glaring safety issues had gone unnoticed and unreported for years, a powder keg waiting to explode, as it did in 2014. Without a safety program designed to recognize and 
eliminate hazards, rather than simply focus on worker behavior, any railroad is a disaster waiting to happen.

To assist with Railroad Workers Memorial Day actions, please contact RWU at or call 206-984-3051. We have posters and stickers, and can provide you with a union-made-in-the-USA black RWU T-shirt to wear on Fathers Day Friday.