SMART - Legislative Action Center
The SMART Transportation Division is making it easier for its members to make their voices heard in the nation’s capitol.
Our new Legislative Action Center enables members to learn about issues and legislation that directly impact their jobs and livelihoods and provides them easy access to contact their representatives to let them know their views.
Members can also see how their representatives voted on legislation, learn about upcoming elections in their state and even write a letter to the editor of their local newspaper.
WASHINGTON – Many characterize union organizing campaigns as debates between management and labor over the impact of unionization on businesses and workers. Today, employers commonly engage third-party consultants in crafting and delivering anti-union messages to workers. Workers often do not know when employers engage consultants behind the scenes to influence their decisions.
To address this lack of transparency, a new rule from the U.S. Department of Labor will require reporting of employer-consultant, or “persuader” agreements – to complement the information that unions already report on their organizing expenditures, resulting in better information for workers making decisions on whether or not to form a union or bargain collectively.
“Workers should know who is behind an anti-union message. It’s a matter of basic fairness,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “This new rule will allow workers to know whether the messages they’re hearing are coming directly from their employer or from a paid, third-party consultant. Full disclosure of persuader agreements gives workers the information they need to make informed choices about how they pursue their rights to organize and bargain collectively. As in all elections, more information means better decisions.”
“This rule is about disclosure, and more disclosure here means more peaceful and stable labor-management relations. With workers having a better understanding of the true source of persuader communications, worker-supervisor and other workplace relationships are likely to proceed more smoothly no matter what is decided regarding union representation,” said Office of Labor-Management Standards Director Michael Hayes.
The new rule interprets Section 203 of the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act. The law requires labor organizations, consultants, and employers to file reports and disclose expenditures on labor-management activities. The law intends to prevent abuse, corruption, and improper practices by labor organizations, employers, and labor relations consultants alike.
A longstanding loophole, however, allows employers to hire consultants to create materials, strategies and policies for organizing campaigns – and even to script managers’ communications with employees – without disclosing anything, as long as the consultant does not directly contact employees. The new rule closes the loophole to align the regulation with the statute, by requiring reporting on “actions, conduct or communications that are undertaken with an object, explicitly or implicitly, directly or indirectly, to affect an employee’s decisions regarding his or her representation or collective bargaining rights.” Under the same statute, unions already are required to make comprehensive public reports on their expenditures, including expenditures on union-organizing campaigns.
The Federal Register will publish the new rule on March 24. The change will be applicable to arrangements, agreements, and payments made on or after July 1, 2016. The final rule and additional information is available on the OLMS website at http://www.dol.gov/olms/regs/compliance/ecr_finalrule.htm.
SMART's Discipline Income Protection Program: It Pays.
What benefits are paid? You choose the level of benefits you want, from $6 to $200 per day, all at low monthly assessments. The term of benefits, from 200 to 365 days, depends on how long you have been enrolled in the program.
Who sponsors the program? SMART sponsors the Discipline Income Protection Program.
Who is eligible for coverage? SMART Transportation Division members in the U.S. may enroll as members on a voluntary basis.
How do I join? In the U.S., contact your field supervisor or local insurance representative for details, or write to:
Discipline Income Protection Program
SMART Transportation Division
24950 Country Club Blvd., Ste. 340
North Olmsted, Ohio 44070-5333
More information? If you would like more information about the SMART Discipline Income Protection Program, send requests to the e-mail address below:
If you would like to view the Discipline Income Protection Program’s schedule of benefits, click on the link below:
This is only a brief description of the Discipline Income Protection Program. The program is governed only by the terms of the official plan document. If there is any conflict between this description and the official plan document or between the official plan document and any statement by any person (including a SMART employee or representative), the plan document will govern.
Application: To download an application for the Discipline Income Protection Program, click on the link below:
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced that the agencies are seeking public input during the next 90 days on the impacts of screening, evaluating and treating rail workers and commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The National Transportation Safety Board recommended that DOT take action to address OSA screening and treatment for transportation workers.
The joint Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) is the first step as both agencies consider whether to propose requirements specifically on OSA. FRA and FMCSA will host three public listening sessions to gather input on OSA in Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Los Angeles.
“It is imperative for everyone’s safety that commercial motor vehicle drivers and train operators be fully focused and immediately responsive at all times,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “DOT strongly encourages comment from the public on how to best respond to this national health and transportation safety issue.”
It is estimated that 22 million men and women could be suffering from undiagnosed OSA, a respiratory disorder characterized by a reduction or cessation of breathing during sleep. Undiagnosed or inadequately treated moderate to severe OSA can cause unintended sleep episodes and deficits in attention, concentration, situational awareness, memory, and the capacity to safely respond to hazards when performing safety sensitive service. For individuals with OSA, eight hours of sleep can be less refreshing than four hours of ordinary, uninterrupted sleep, according to a study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The size and scope of the potential problem means that OSA presents a critical safety issue for all modes and operations in the transportation industry.
“The sooner patients with OSA are diagnosed and treated, the sooner our rail network will be safer,” said FRA Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg. “Over the next 90 days, we look forward to hearing views from stakeholders about the prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea, their views on diagnosis and treatment, and potential economic impacts.”
“The collection and analysis of sound data on the impact of OSA must be our immediate first step,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling. “We call upon the public to help us better understand the prevalence of OSA among commercial truck and bus drivers, as well as the safety and economic impacts on the truck and bus industries.”
FRA is also currently working on a rule that will require certain railroads to establish fatigue management plans. In 2012, FRA partnered with the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, the WFBH Education Foundation and the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center to sponsor the Railroaders’ Guide to Healthy Sleep website. The site provides educational information to railroaders and their families about sleep disorders and information to improve sleep quality.
For any CMV drivers who are detected to have a respiratory dysfunction, such as OSA, FMCSA currently recommends that medical examiners refer them for further evaluation and therapy. In January 2015, FMCSA issued a bulletin to remind healthcare professionals on the agency’s National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners of the current physical qualifications standard and advisory criteria concerning the respiratory system, specifically how the requirements apply to drivers that may have obstructive sleep apnea. Click here for a copy of the FMCSA bulletin.
To read the ANPRM and provide comments, visit: https://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/Details/L17364.
The Rail Workers Hazardous Materials Training Program has scheduled new training programs for HAZMAT/Chemical Emergency Response for 2016. Three classes for RW Chemical Emergence Response are being offered in early 2016 in Houston. The RW Chemical Emergence Response class will be held Feb. 7-12, March 6-11 and April 24-29, 2016.
This training addresses OSHA and DOT required training in addition to procedures, different levels of response and worker protection in a hazardous materials emergency or release, weapons of mass destruction awareness and the incident command system. The training also provides completion of the OSHA 10-Hour General Industry Outreach requirements. The programs are delivered using interactive classroom instruction, small group activities, hands-on drills and a simulated HAZMAT response in full safety gear.
The Rail Workers Hazardous Materials Training Program is funded to provide this training by a federal grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). This five-day HAZMAT training course will provide rail workers the essential knowledge, skills, and response actions in the case of an unintentional release. These tools will allow rail workers to protect themselves, their co-workers and their communities.
The funding provides the following student expenses: air travel, lodging and meals. In addition, an incentive of $120.00 per day is available to all training participants of these programs, except those who are able to secure regular pay through their employer, or are paid union officers. Training will be conducted at the Houston Fire Department’s Val Jahnke Training Facility, 8030 Braniff Street Houston, TX 77061.
Programs begin Sunday evenings at 5:30 p.m. and conclude Fridays at 1:00 p.m. Students may be asked to travel on Saturdays to meet program start times or where substantial reductions in airfare warrant. When registering, please select dates in order of preference.Train-the-Trainer Instructor Training
The Rail Workers Hazardous Materials Training Program is also offering instructor training to be held April 3-9 and May 15-21, 2016. This course is designed to certify the student as a trainer for the DOT-HMIT (Hazardous Materials Instructor Training) Program.
The topics covered include DOT training requirements, placarding and labeling of Hazardous Materials, as well as other topics related to the safe transportation of hazardous material. Upon completion of this course, the student receives a card certifying them to teach the Practical Training Course.
The Rail Workers Hazardous Materials Training Program prides itself on providing the most valuable worker safety training available and peer trainers provide most of the training. A major goal of the Rail Program is to build a nationwide pool of skilled peer trainers to deliver hazardous materials training at their jobsites, union meetings and in their communities.
The DOT-funded HMIT consists of an eight-hour hazardous materials awareness course followed by five days of train-the-trainer instruction, providing participants the skills and knowledge necessary to deliver hazardous materials training at the local and regional levels.
The funding provides the following student expenses: Air travel, lodging and meals. In addition, an incentive of $175.00 per day is available to all training participants of these programs, except those who are able to secure regular pay through their employer, or are paid union officers. Training will be conducted at: Holiday Inn Houston-Hobby Airport, 8611 Airport Blvd, Houston, TX, 77061.
Programs begin Monday mornings and conclude Saturdays at 1:00 p.m.
Students will be required to travel/arrive on Sundays to meet program start times.
When registering, please select dates in order of preference when available.Modular Emergency Response Radiological Transportation Training
A training class is being offered June 5-8, 2016 in Chicago. Stay tuned for further details as they become available. Interested persons may register now for this program.
Click here to register for any of the classes listed above.
For phone inquiries please call (202) 624-6963, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. EST.
According to a new report from Pew Research, a nonpartisan nonprofit think tank based in Washington, DC, the American middle class has not only shrunk, but it has also lost 30 percent of the wealth it held a generation ago.
The report finds that in early 2015, 120.8 million adults could claim to be in the American middle class versus 70.3 million in lower-income and 51 million in upper-income households. While the number of Americans belonging to the middle class increased due to the natural progression that results from population growth, a bigger share of the population belonged to the middle class while holding a greater share of the total wealth. The study finds that the share of income held by middle-income families has plummeted to 43 percent in 2015 versus 6 percent of the wealth in 1971. The share of wealth held by lower income households remained stable during this time while the share of income held by upper income Americans has exploded to 49 percent of all total wealth in 2015 as opposed to the 29 percent share held in 1971.
The demographic and income data comes from the US Census Bureau’s “Current Population Survey” which serves as the basis of research on income and poverty issues.
As of mid-October, the
largest U.S. railroads employed 165,606 people, down slightly from September's
level. But on a year-over-year basis, the workforce shrank 2.14 percent
compared with October 2014's level, according to data from the Surface Transportation Board.
On a month-over-month basis, the size of the total Class I workforce fell in four of the six employment categories: executives, officials and staff assistants, down 0.72 percent; maintenance of way (MOW) and structures, down 0.40 percent; maintenance of equipment and stores, down 0.40 percent; and transportation (train and engine), down 1.64 percent.
Two categories barely logged increases between mid-September and mid-October: professional and administrative, rose 0.05 percent, and transportation (other than T&E), inched up 0.37 percent.
On a year-over-year basis, workforce categories that posted decreases were transportation (T&E), down 6.31 percent; transportation (other than T&E), down 0.27 percent; and executives, officials and staff assistants, down 3.02 percent.
Worker categories that reflected increases year-over-year were professional and administrative, up 0.84 percent; MOW and structures, up 1.73 percent; and maintenance of equipment and stores, up 1.31 percent.
Contact: Office of Communications
OSHA publishes final rule for handling retaliation complaints from
workers in railroad and public transportation industries
WASHINGTON - The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today issued a final rule establishing procedures and time frames for handling employee retaliation complaints under the National Transit Systems Security Act and the Federal Railroad Safety Act. The final rule is effective Nov. 9, 2015.
NTSSA establishes protections against retaliation for public transportation agency employees who engage in whistleblowing activities related to public transportation safety or security. FRSA provides protections against retaliation for railroad carrier employees who report a work-related injury or engage in other whistleblowing activities related to railroad safety or security. These protections extend to employees of contractors and subcontractors who do work for public transportation agencies and railroad carriers.
Both provisions were enacted by the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007. FRSA was amended in 2008 to prohibit railroad carriers from denying, delaying or interfering with employees' medical or first aid treatment. The FRSA amendments also require that injured employees be promptly transported to the nearest hospital upon request.
"Railroad workers have the right to report injuries and to follow their doctor's treatment plans for injuries sustained in the course of their employment without fearing that they will be retaliated against," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "Railroad and public transit agency workers must never be silenced by the threat of losing their job when their safety or the safety of the public is at stake."
In 2010, OSHA published an interim final rule and requested public comments. The final rule responds to the comments, incorporates recent case law under the statutes and updates the rules to improve both employees' and employers' access to information about the case during OSHA's investigation and their ability to participate in OSHA's investigation.
OSHA's Whistleblower Protection for Public Transportation Agency Workers* and Whistleblower Protection for Railroad Workers* fact sheets explain who is covered under the acts, protected activity, types of retaliation and the process for filing a complaint.
OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of 22 statutes protecting employees who report violations of various securities, commercial motor vehicle, airline, nuclear power, pipeline, environmental, rail, maritime, health care, workplace safety and health, and consumer product safety laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.whistleblowers.gov.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The department's Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center converts departmental information and documents into alternative formats, which include Braille and large print. For alternative format requests, please contact the department at (202) 693-7828 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 FREE (federal relay).
Summary of the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015
Improving Our Infrastructure
· Provides certainty for state and local governments to undertake large-scale, complex transportation projects
· Provides flexibility for states to invest in bridge rehabilitation and replacement
· Eliminates red tape that slows down infrastructure improvements
· Streamlines the environmental review and permitting process to accelerate project delivery
· Provides more flexibility and decision-making to states and local governments to allow them to better address their priorities and needs
· Eliminates and consolidates offices within the Department of Transportation
· Establishes a National Surface Transportation and Innovative Finance Bureau to provide assistance to help state, local, and private sector partners move transportation projects forward
· Overhauls federal truck and bus safety grant programs and rulemaking processes
· Reforms truck and bus safety programs and eases administrative burdens on small businesses
Refocusing on National Priorities
· Facilitates commerce and the movement of goods by establishing a Nationally Significant Freight and Highway
· Provides flexibility to states to target driver safety grants on their pressing safety needs
· Consolidates truck and bus safety grant programs and provides state flexibility on safety priorities
· Promotes private investment in our surface transportation system
· Promotes the deployment of transportation technologies and congestion management tools that support an efficient and safe surface transportation system for all
· Updates federal research and transportation standards development to reflect the growth of technology in transportation
· Encourages the installation of vehicle-to-infrastructure equipment to reduce congestion and improve safety
· Improves truck and bus safety by accelerating the introduction of new transportation technologies
Charles Luna (1906 – 1 October 1992) was president of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen (BRT) from 1963 until 1969. He became the first president of the United Transportation Union, when that organization was formed by merging the BRT and three other railroad unions in 1969.
Luna became president of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen in 1963. On 1 January 1969 the BRT merged with three other unions to form the United Transportation Union. Luna became president of the combined union, with 230,000 members.In 1969 Luna was elected chairman of the Congress of Railway Unions.
In 1971 the UTU Insurance Association assumed the insurance and welfare plans of the brotherhoods who had formed the UTU. The UTU held its first national convention in August 1971 in Miami Beach. Al Chesser, National Legislative Director of the UTU, was elected to succeed Luna, who was retiring.
In 1970 Luna was chosen by President Richard Nixon to help form the National Railroad Passenger Corporation. This set up the Amtrak inter-city passenger service. Luna served as an Amtrak director for twenty years.
Amtrak’s highest safety honor is the Charles Luna Memorial Safety award, which has been presented annually since 1990.
Jeri Sopanen (14 August 1929 - 21 September 2008) was a Finnish-born American filmmaker who created movies, television series and commercials. He was five times nominated for an Emmy Award Prize and received the award once, a children's program called "The Rotten Truth".
Sopanen graduated from high school in Helsinki, studied composition at the Sibelius Academy in 1951 and received a Fulbright scholarship to the University of Lawrence United States. There he was inspired by the film and the film began studies at UCLA in Los Angeles.
Sopanen worked on "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau" and made "Gardens of the World" with Audrey Hepburn.. He also served as cameraman for the Louis Malle film "My Dinner with Andre."
This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD and 2K. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com