Article 12 of 11812 articles posted under "Harassment and Discrimination"


Name: HR 1748 Safe Freight act 
Employed as: Conductor, for 10-20 years
Posted: 03 September 2020

Brothers and Sisters:

It’s time to set the record straight. I am certain many of you have
seen the recent anti-labor articles that have been published regarding
our recent win in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. That
win has apparently struck a raw nerve with the carriers and the minions
who eagerly await their master’s call. Make no mistake, that decision
struck a fatal blow to the carriers’ plans to put you on the
unemployment line. Rather than accept defeat, their apologists are
trying to spin this loss into something that it is not. The long
history of crew consist cannot be denied. For decades, we have battled
with the carriers over their fevered attempts to cut costs and put your
life at risk by down-sizing crews. This current round of negotiations is
no different. They sought to eliminate your job and operate trains in
perhaps the most dangerous way possible. Standing up for you, that’s
what this case was about.

They have severely underestimated the fight in each and every one of
us; the sheer grit and determination that we have to defend our
families, our jobs, and the overall welfare of our co-workers and the
general public alike. The truth that these apologists fear to admit is
that in this Union, the dues-paying members are the Union — period.
There is no divide between the “Union” and the “dues-paying members.”
There is only a “Union.” We stand together now more than ever.

To salve their masters’ wounds, those “commentators” try to spin this
as union officers protecting their own jobs. They know not of what they
speak and their ignorance is evident in the web that they weave. They
used nameless sources in an attempt to add credibility to a tall tale
that anyone with true insight would know is far from factual. The fact
remains that all officers in this newly elected SMART-TD administration
are firmly united.

The Railway Labor Act protects agreements from being changed except
through the processes provided for in Section 6 of the Act. The
carriers had agreed to crew consist provisions years ago. Not only
that, but to end the constant battle over crew consist, the carriers
also agreed to moratoria provisions that barred any Section 6 Notice
over crew consist until the last protected employee voluntarily left
service. That event has not yet happened. These are the facts, but they
are nowhere to be found in any recounting in the carriers’ favored
publications. Rather, what you are treated to is the old worn song of
the anti-unionist. The apologist who says trust the carriers, they only
want what was best for you. Right. The carriers want to give you
lifetime protections? At what cost? And when they decide they don’t
like that deal any more, will they ignore it just like they have tried
to ignore our moratoria provisions and put you on the street? These
apologists assert that they have some inside scoop, yet I have never
witnessed any “commentator” at the bargaining table. They are

What else is missing? Acknowledgement of the only thing the carriers
care about — their bottom line. Money comes before all else. That is
evidenced by the unbelievable lengths they will go to argue that you
are paid too much, that your insurance is too expensive, and that they
are going broke as a result of the costs of our Agreements. You are the
target in their zeal to improve their stock price. That is a sad fact
that you will not find in any of those articles.

Another fallacy that is being sold — technology will do everything more
safely. That simply is not true. Their technology is fallible. It
doesn’t work like they wish it would nor as advertised. In fact, it’s
not a matter of if it will break down, but when. We have collected
thousands of Failure Reports across all Class Is and the data is
terrifying. Never has the human element been more important in railroad
operations. Engineers spend more time with their faces in multiple
screens trying to manipulate and interpret the ambiguous systems than
they do focusing on the territory ahead. Conductors are relied upon now
more than ever, as they are the eyes and ears of the train crew, and we
have the stories to prove it.

The articles also attempt to scare you by asserting that the carriers
will unilaterally reduce crews at the end of the last-person-standing
moratorium. That is not how the Act works. The expiration of the
moratoria does not sunset crew consist. Rather, moratoria bar either
party from serving a Section 6 notice to amend or change the current
Crew Consist Agreements until the last protected employee leaves. Once
that happens, then a Section 6 Notice can be served and the long and
drawn-out process of the RLA engaged to negotiate the next generation
of agreements.

Railroad workers have all been lied to long enough by management, and
we can smell lies coming from a mile away.

As a word of advice to Railway Age, I would caution them against living
in the past and trying to play SMART-TD against the BLET. We are working
closely together in the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition (CBC) in
national handling and on the various other disputes that the carriers
have forced us into.

Brothers and Sisters, do not be discouraged, and do not be swayed by
those with ulterior motives. We are in this fight together, and we are
moving forward.

In Solidarity,

Jeremy R. Ferguson
President – Transportation Division

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