Thursday, June 11, 2009

BLET, UTU file to prohibit one-person operating crews

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The United Transportation Union and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen late Thursday filed a petition with the Federal Railroad Administration seeking an emergency order prohibiting the use of one-person crews in all train operations, including remote control and conventional switching operations.

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In a 12-page submission signed by both BLET National President Edward W. Rodzwicz and UTU International President Malcom B. Futhey, Jr.,  the two labor groups charged that one-person operation, including remote control operation, “have been nothing more than the industry’s attempt to reduce operating costs to increase profits, at the expense of worker safety.”

BLET and UTU cited a May 10 incident involving CSX at Selkirk, N.Y., where “an employee was killed while working alone and using a remote control device. He was ordered by his supervisor to change a knuckle on a car without any assistance. The employee never received any training on how to change a knuckle wearing a remote control operator control unit (“OCU”), and did not remove the OCU while attempting to change the knuckle. Unfortunately, while located between the cars, he was crushed and killed by movement of his remote control locomotive (“RCL”) on the track where he was working.”