• The RCL controversy continues , courtesy of the UTU

  • General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.
General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.

Moderator: Robert Paniagua

  by GOLDEN-ARM
 
Without regulations, at the Federal level, remotes will continue to be the deadliest challenge on the railroad today. Seems laughable, that the very union that calls itself "United" has done so much, to sever any thought of unity, on the railroad. The price of the lives, sacrificed by the UTU, and their honest lack of concern, for the health, welfare and lives of their members, is an absolute abomination. A single death would have been one too many. The sad, but true reality is, the UTU has employees being killed on a regular basis, but without regulations in place, and penalties that support those regulations, railroads can continue to kill off UTU members, and not report them honestly, as remote controlled accidents. This is the farce of remote operations. You can run over your partner today, due to complete negligence on your part, and continue working tomorrow, with no consequences at all. (I would presume you have a conscience, and that it would eat you alive) Until the UTU truly becomes a "United" union, that cares for the lives of it's members, they will continue to sacrifice your jobs, and lives, in the name of a few more cents, an hour. There is nothing "united" in that.......... :(

  by GN 599
 
Have either one of you actually ran an RCL? I have I am a UTU Engineer and I think they work pretty well. If you cant run one you dont need to be out here because a monkey could operate one. The main setback I see is that the railroads try to make them work where they are just too slow. I wish there were an engineer on every job but the railroads are a business. Dont blame the UTU you can thank technology and cut throat management. Heck its a cut throat railroad. I would send a pre-85 guy down the river for a nickel. If I remember it was all of you old heads that sold out the brakeman jobs for us young guys for productivity funds. I have no sympathy. This winter when I am de- moted and have to run the stupid things I will take my extra 16 bucks a shift because I have bills to pay and I learned a long time ago you have to take care of number one out here because I have bills to pay unless you want to pay em for me! :-D

  by Aji-tater
 
I have never run one of the things so I can't comment on their safety or lack thereof. Question for GA - how many of the fatalities you mention are BECAUSE OF the remote itself, and how many were from other mistakes and it so happened the employee was using a remote at the time? I don't have an agenda either for or against here, I'm just curious.

  by GOLDEN-ARM
 
As an engineer, with BLE affiliation, we were compiling a list of injuries/fatalaties, directly attributed to remote operations. As you may or may not be aware, the carriers will, and are, doing everything possible, to keep the remotes on the property, even though the stats show the productivity is reduced, and the injury rates are up. I will offer this first hand experience. In 2005, I was working in and out of Queensgate yard, on the CSX. during a single week, there was a wreck/derailment and collision, every single day, for an entire week. on the fifth day of remote wrecks, a remote operator shoved his train through the side of another train, resulting in the destruction of a bungalow, that contained the electronics for the entire hump, and all of the powered switches in the entire yard. CSX had to call maintainers in, from across the system, to manually operate the hump, switches and signals, while waiting for parts to make repairs. The FRA made it out for that one, and the following day, a sixth accident occured, with them on the property. A conversation with the OP man, representing the FRA, resulted in his stating that he had "no knowledge" of any previous accidents, attributable to remote operations, in the yard. After notifying him of the past 5 days accounts in the yard, he seemed concerned, but also resigned to the fact that the carriers would not/did not have to report remote accidents. The BLE was (is?) maintaining a list of the more "spectacular" remote accidents, in their website pages, for your perusal. The company I work for provides remote training to all of the carriers, currently using the technology. I personally will not become qualified on the boxes, and therefore cannot train others to use it. I REFUSE to participate in any action that removes employees from any job. Where I am at now, there are accidents directly attributed to remote operations, but the cars are rerailed, the tracks repaired, and everyone goes about their jobs, like it never happened. If a hogger was on the same job, doing the same things, his ass would be fired/held out of service. It's funny/pathetic to watch a carrier have to lay-in a remote job, and put on a full crew, when things get so far behind, and the brass is riding some trainmasters butt. Why would they have to put on a full crew, to catch-up, if remotes were so productive? The BLE was willing to sit down, and negotiate rules, training and compensation requirements to allow the remotes on the property. The UTU didn't care for anything, except for a few extra cents per hour. (think halloween, 1985, all you new guys) The may, 2006 Railway Age has an interesting article regarding remotes. The FRA is quoted, in the article to say "The study shows that, when comparing all railroads, RCL operations result in more train accidents than conventional operations" The injury rate is also increased, soley based on inclusion of RCL rates. Not to "bum anyone out, but even more frigthening than RCL operations, was the carriers recent attempt to "urge" the UTU to consider one man train operations, in exchange for more money, early retirements and spare boards that would pay 60 percent to people for not working at all. Time will only tell, whether it's "halloween 1985" all over again, or not. Regards :(

  by roadster
 
The BLE was fighting the implimentation of the RCL's when the UTU jumped on the company band wagon and volunteered to take RCL craft. Again selling out memebrs for a bit more money. Thats right the UTU sold out all the regular brakemen, and before that the Firemen, (yes, they were UTU also). UTU has a long history of selling out members, for the pockets of a few esspecially the local and general chairs. Knowing this the Companys are trying to sucker the UTU into selling out the road conductors, for a few dollars more. Technology sure, but the UTU was headlong into itself instead of protecting jobs. Hope that extra 16 dollars will come in handie on that 60% board when they furlough all those road jobs.

  by jg greenwood
 
GN 599 wrote:Have either one of you actually ran an RCL? I have I am a UTU Engineer and I think they work pretty well. If you cant run one you dont need to be out here because a monkey could operate one. The main setback I see is that the railroads try to make them work where they are just too slow. I wish there were an engineer on every job but the railroads are a business. Dont blame the UTU you can thank technology and cut throat management. Heck its a cut throat railroad. I would send a pre-85 guy down the river for a nickel. If I remember it was all of you old heads that sold out the brakeman jobs for us young guys for productivity funds. I have no sympathy. This winter when I am de- moted and have to run the stupid things I will take my extra 16 bucks a shift because I have bills to pay and I learned a long time ago you have to take care of number one out here because I have bills to pay unless you want to pay em for me! :-D
I'm not exactly sure to whom your post is addressed. I would ass/u/me since there were only two posts prior to yours that you're referring to Golden-Arm and me. No, I've never ran a RCL. Unless there's a monumental change in my job status, I never will either.
I'm willing to wager you weren't around the railroad when "you old heads sold out the brakemen for productivity shares." Here's a news flash for you, I've never collected a dime in productivity shares. You're more than willing to collect your $16.00/shift for operating the remotes aren't you? This "take care of #1" philosophy works both ways doesn't it? I HAVE NO SYMPATHY. :wink:

  by slchub
 
As a former member of the UTU, now BLET, a hogger now and a former conductor/brakeman who has operated RCL's in Ogden and Salt Lake City and seen two of my brothers killed in Ogden working on an RCL/RCO switch job, I would have to say that the damn things need to be scrapped. I cannot recall how many sideswipes and motors I have seen on the ground because nobody was on the point, movements made by the guy with the box because he thought you said ahead or back, a 3-9 second delay between the box and the motor, etc. I'm for having a hogger on the motor. It just makes sense. I've heard the gripe from both sides, but I would have to say that the UTU did sell out and is generally interested in lining their pockets. Take a look at what happened to their chiefs two years ago. Wearing prison garb.

  by GN 599
 
Yeah greenwood that was directed toward you and golden arm, on the BNSF the pre 85 guys get productivity and its usually over 10k a year. I wish it were me but oh well. I agree with you guys though they are unsafe and un productive. I think they are safe but the railroads arent giving these new hires enough training on them simple as that and I dont think either side of the union is doing much about it unfortunately. I wish they would go away forever. I also think we all should be in one union, the carriers have us right where they want us when the unions are bickering at the top levels. As far as where I work the BLE and UTU are both great locals with sharp guys working togeter. I wish it was that way across the boards... :(

  by jg greenwood
 
GN 599 wrote:Yeah greenwood that was directed toward you and golden arm, on the BNSF the pre 85 guys get productivity and its usually over 10k a year. I wish it were me but oh well. I agree with you guys though they are unsafe and un productive. I think they are safe but the railroads arent giving these new hires enough training on them simple as that and I dont think either side of the union is doing much about it unfortunately. I wish they would go away forever. I also think we all should be in one union, the carriers have us right where they want us when the unions are bickering at the top levels. As far as where I work the BLE and UTU are both great locals with sharp guys working togeter. I wish it was that way across the boards... :(
I'll have to agree with EVERYTHING you've said.

  by thebigc
 
roadster wrote:UTU has a long history of selling out members...
And the BLE doesn't? Are you familiar with the VIA scenario a few years back when the BLE sold out the Conductors for a cup of coffee or something? Apparently not.

And remember, RCL is only safe on Montana Rail Link and the Tex-Mex. Which, coincidentally, are 100% BLE represented carriers.

  by roadster
 
Apparrently you don't either because you don't even remember what the BLE supposedly got for it. I don't recall the BLE selling it's members. I DO know about the, Firemen, Brakemen, switchmen sold out by their own representatives. UTU chairs will protect their company training and safety jobs at the expense of their members. Not to mention UTU local chairs voting the General chairs 240 starts so the General could recieve Dock pay at the expense of the members Dock payments!! LAST YEAR It's no wonder UTU past executives were convicted of racteering 2 YEARS AGO. Enjoy that 60% volunteer layoff board.

  by GOLDEN-ARM
 
Hey, BigC, the BLE has NEVER sold out an employee, protected under any operating craft. The fireman were always UTU, something most UTU guys either don't know, or choose to ignore. We have been, since day one (remember, we are still the OLDEST organized labor union in the Americas),a union dedicated to the protection, and promotion, of our craft. We have 1 man-1 vote, which the UTU does not, and we do everything by democratic vote, not what the GC tells the LC to vote on. BLE was going to agree to those remotes, and trainmen would have had the same opportunity to operate them, but with safety rules, Federal certification, and penalties applied to carriers, for failure to adhere to those rules. Cup of coffee? I have bought MORE than my fair share, for some tight-assed Conductor, who never returned the favor. We have always been engineers, and we have sold out no-one. Regards :-D

  by thebigc
 
roadster wrote:Apparrently you don't either because you don't even remember what the BLE supposedly got for it.
Does it matter?!?

Fact is, the almighty BLE sold out their Conductor members on VIA, eliminated them entirely, for a few dollars a day. Or a cup of coffee. But the point is, they sold out their members.

I believe the Canadian Supreme Court overturned this treachery eventually but the bottom line is the BLE sold out their members.

  by roadster
 
Ok for the sake of your arguement you have 1 incident with questionable verification. The facts about the UTU are clear printed, and historically available, as I said a HISTORY of selling out their members. One incident verses numerous. The facts are clear. Arguing this point any further is mute. You have your opinion we have ours. Good Luck.