RWU Resolution on Crew Fatigue
Whereas, all too many railroaders in North America work long, irregular hours and all too often are chronically sleep deprived; and
Whereas, most North American railroad workers have no schedule whatsoever, and are generally called to work at all hours of the day, seven days a week, with just two hours’ notice of work; and
Whereas, these long hours without enough sleep have been the cause of countless wrecks, injuries and fatalities over the years, both on and off the job; and
Whereas, this chronic fatigue contributes greatly to all sorts of problems on and off the job – physical, mental, emotional, marital, family, etc.; and
Whereas, excessive work hours means less time for other aspects of life – hobbies, interests, family, friends, community and union work, etc.; and
Whereas, the rail carriers compound the problem when they implement draconian “availability policies”, making it nearly impossible for some railroaders to take the necessary time off work; and
Whereas, countless studies have proven that fatigue -- having a very similar effect upon the brain as excessive alcohol consumption -- has been a major contributor to disastrous railroad accidents in recent years: and
Whereas, despite study after study, meeting after meeting, the unions and the carriers have more often than not been unable to reach agreement on ways and means to provide adequate and proper rest for train and engine crews;
Therefore, Be it Resolved, that Railroad Workers United recognizes that excessive work hours and the resultant crew fatigue are major issues in the rail industry that can no longer be ignored; and
Be in Further Resolved that RWU supports a nationwide campaign to combat the chronic fatigue and excessive work hours that North American railroad workers are subject to.
Be it Finally Resolved that RWU calls on community organizations, civic groups, environmental organizations and labor unions to join with us in this important fight against train crew fatigue.
Presented to the RWU Steering Committee 2/3/15 for Consideration