Railroad Workers Call for Immediate Action to Prevent Future Train Wrecks

Press Release

Date: Friday, February 24, 2023

For Immediate Release

For More Information, Please Contact:

WASHINGTON, DC – RWU Special Safety Rep Fritz Edler 202-494-3848 kfedler@his.com

LAS VEGAS, NV – RWU General Secretary Jason Doering  202-480-0587  jason.doering@nvsmart-union.org   

DES MOINES, IA – RWU Co-Chair Ross Grooters  515-689-3229   blet778lr@gmail.com

SPARKS, NV – RWU Co-Chair Gabe Christensen  775-682-0889  gabe.christenson@nvsmart-union.org

RENO, NV – RWU Organizer Ron Kaminkow  608-358-5771  ronkaminkow@yahoo.com

ATLANTA, GA – RWU Treasurer Hugh Sawyer  404-290-1961  hlsawyerjr@gmail.com

POCATELLO, ID – RWU Steering Committee Member Paul Lindsey  208-317-7379  mplindsey208@gmail.com

CHICAGO, IL – RWU Newsletter Editor Mark Burrows  773-486-7001  potashpuller55@gmail.com

MILWAUKEE, WI – RWU Steering Committee Alternate JP Johnson 406-491-1791 ironhorse8401@gmail.com

DECATUR, IL – RWU Member Tim Sloper 217-652-0028 tslope242000@yahoo.com  

CHICAGO, IL – RWU Member Marilee Taylor 773-405-5246  marileetaylor@sbcglobal.net

FORT MADISON, IA – RWU Trustee Jeff Kurtz 319-470-9990  ia.chairman@gmail.com

SPARKS, NV – RWU Member Matt Parker 775-772-3675  mparker@bletnslb.org

TOLEDO, OH – RWU Steering Committee Member Matt Weaver 248-986-6079 bmweaver2624@frontier.com

BOSTON, MA – RWU Member Nick Wurst 508-335-8633 nick@w-sts.com

Railroad Workers Call for Immediate Action

to Prevent Future Train Wrecks

East Palestine, OH – It has been three weeks since the tragic train wreck that devastated this small town. Despite the initial lack of attention it received, politicians and bureaucrats have finally become aware of the tragedy. Railroad Workers United (RWU) urges everyone concerned not to be distracted by rhetoric, hyperbole, promises, and lies but instead to focus on the primary reasons for the derailment and take immediate action to prevent future disasters.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Preliminary Report released on February 23rd clearly stated that “This was 100% preventable. … There is no accident. Every single event that we investigate is preventable.” RWU believes that the Class One freight rail carriers, including Norfolk Southern, have prioritized profits over safety, cutting maintenance, equipment inspections, and personnel in all crafts while increasing the average train size to three miles or more.

According to RWU Co-Chair Gabe Christenson, “Railroad workers experience firsthand every day the dangers inherent in this style of railroading. It has impacted their safety and health, state of mind, and lives on and off the job.” RWU General Secretary Jason Doering adds, “Every day we go to work, we have serious concerns about preventing accidents like the one that occurred in Ohio. As locomotive engineers, conductors, signal maintainers, car inspectors, track workers, dispatchers, machinists, and electricians, we experience the reality that our jobs are becoming increasingly dangerous due to insufficient staffing, inadequate maintenance, and a lack of oversight and inspection. We recognize that limits on train lengths and weights are necessary to prevent catastrophic derailments.”

RWU demands immediate action by government regulatory agencies and Congress to rein in Class One railroads. This action must ensure sufficient staffing to do the job properly, efficiently, and safely, with all trains operating with a minimum of a two-person crew. Train length and weight must be capped at a reasonable level to mitigate the increased likelihood of breakdowns, train separations, and derailments. Adequate and proper maintenance and inspections of locomotives and rail cars, tracks and signals, wayside detectors, and other infrastructure must be implemented. Ample training and time off without the harassment of draconian attendance policies must also be standardized.

“We demand that the railroad be run safely, efficiently, and professionally, and not as some ‘cash cow’ for Wall Street investors and billionaires,” notes Hugh Sawyer, RWU Treasurer. “Much of what is wrong with the rail industry today can be fixed easily and quickly by acting on what is outlined above. We demand action NOW.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s