FRA Denies AAR’s Request to Extend Off-Air Time

In a follow-up to the TCU article published March 8th 2018:

The Association of American Railroads (AAR), on behalf of itself and its member railroads, recently petitioned the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for a waiver of compliance from Federal railroad safety regulations which require brake tests to be performed on a train when it has been off-air for four hours.  AAR specifically requested that the four-hour off-air restriction be replaced by a 24-hour off-air restriction. 
 
The Brotherhood Railway Carman (BRC) joined with four other rail unions to oppose AAR’s petition for waiver because the requested relief could endanger the safety of both railroad workers and the general public.  TCU is pleased to announce that the FRA’s Railroad Safety Board (Board) reviewed AAR’s waiver petition and “concluded that granting the requested relief would not be in the public interest or consistent with railroad safety.”  In making this decision, the Board noted that “AAR’s request amounted to a request for a regulatory change which would be more appropriately addressed through the rule-making process” and that the lack of supporting data failed “to capture the wide variety of operating conditions experienced over seasons and time periods by representative train sets operating in the United States.” In the absence of “more detailed data demonstrating that safety would not be compromised,” the Board concluded the waiver request was not justified. 
 
“This is a big win for rail labor,” said Brotherhood Railway Carmen Division General President Rich Johnson.  “The Board made the right decision; a decision which will promote the safety of all railroad employees and the general public as well.” 

Click here to view the decision letter from the FRA

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SENATORS CONGRATULATE BOEING FLIGHT TECHNICIANS ON VOTE TO JOIN MACHINISTS UNION

Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) issued a joint statement of support for the Boeing flight readiness technicians in South Carolina who voted to join  the International Association of Machinists (IAM). 

“We congratulate the Boeing flight readiness technicians for voting to join a union,” said the Senators. “This week’s victory is a win not just for the Boeing technicians, but for all workers trying to advocate for themselves in the workplace, often in the face of significant employer opposition.  We urge Boeing to respect the decision its workers have made, and come to the negotiating table in good faith.”

Click here to view the joint letter from the Senators.

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RRB Release – Railroad Retirement Age Reductions

Railroad retirement benefits are subject to reduction if an employee with less than 30 years of service retires before attaining full retirement age. While employees with less than 30 years of service may still retire at age 62, the age at which full retirement benefits are payable has been gradually increasing since the year 2000, the same as for social security.

Click here to read a questions and answers explaining how these early retirement age reductions are applied to railroad retirement annuities.

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