Nevada AFL-CIO adopts resolution supporting two-person train crews

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, September 4 — The Nevada State AFL-CIO adopted a safety resolution in support of Federal legislation mandating two-person train crews at its 63rd Constitution Convention in Las Vegas on August 29, 2019.

The resolution was submitted by Brother Matt Parker, Chairman of the BLET’s Nevada State Legislative Board. The resolution asserts that the best way to keep railroads safe is to implement new technology while at the same time assuring that trains continue to be adequately staffed and operated by a crew of at least two professionals.

The safety resolution also is critical of actions by the Federal Railroad Administration. Under the leadership of a corporate-friendly appointee (former Conrail CEO Ron Batory), the FRA rescinded a proposed two-person crew regulation and took action to preempt states from passing their own train crew safety laws.

The resolution reads in part: “FRA’s arbitrary and capricious action in this matter is to the detriment of the safety of the public, which the agency is responsible for protecting, therefore making the need to pass Federal legislation requiring freight train crews of at least two persons paramount.”

BLET and the SMART Transportation Division jointly filed a petition for review of the FRA’s actions in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Three states — California, Nevada and Washington — have also filed challenges in the same court.

Brother Parker said many AFL-CIO affiliates in Nevada “are aghast at the possibility of freight trains operated by less than two-person crews.”

BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce said: “I thank the Nevada AFL-CIO for adopting this resolution, and I compliment Brother Matt Parker for his diligence on this issue.”

A copy of the resolution and a Fact Sheet can be downloaded here (PDF), and the full text of the resolution is copied below.

Before the 63rd Constitutional Convention of the Nevada AFL-CIO,

A RESOLUTION;

WHEREAS
the safety of the public in regard to the risks associated with the transportation of freight by rail is best served by BOTH implementing new safety technology AND assuring that freight trains continue to be operated by a crew of at least two professionals; and

WHEREAS to this end, the Nevada State Legislative Board of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, a member of the Rail Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, fought for and successfully achieved legislation in the State of Nevada during the 80th Nevada Legislature requiring freight train crews of at least two persons; and

WHEREAS the success in achieving this legislation involved the outstanding support of the Nevada AFL-CIO and its affiliates; and

WHEREAS subsequent to such laws passing in Colorado, Nevada, and Illinois this year, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), under the leadership of a corporate-friendly appointee of the Trump Administration, took action serving no other purpose than to create preemption of the state laws passed addressing the issue of train crew size without otherwise addressing the issue; and

WHEREAS FRA’s arbitrary and capricious action in this matter is to the detriment of the safety of the public, which the agency is responsible for protecting, therefore making the need to pass Federal legislation requiring freight train crews of at least two persons paramount;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Nevada AFL-CIO and its affiliates hereby commit to lending their support to the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen as it fights to reverse the adverse action of the FRA and pass Federal legislation requiring freight train crews of at least two persons.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019
bentley@ble-t.org