by Noel Weaver
pablo wrote:It's a bit too simplistic to lay blame scattershot around the industry. After all, CSX, in one example from the not too distant past (and UP and BNSF, too, I believe) raised rates on some traffic simply because it either didn't have the capacity, or wanted operating room. Raising rates wouldn't have been the panacea that so many people, here and elsewhere, have suggested. The situation required a major change in thinking, and Conrail was that. I don't think we need to argue that Conrail could have been better, etc., or that MARC-EL could have worked...we'll never know. It truly would have been interesting to see what could have come, but remember we are viewing things through 2006 eyes in many cases, where intermodal and long-haul are the primary focuses. I don't pretend to know what railroads were looking at doing in the 60's and 70's, other than staying alive, but aside from perhaps EL, intermodal likely wasn't thought of as the driving force. Please correct me if I'm wrong.The unions had an involvement with the situation from early on. There
As for the unions, I am certan that the unions were horrifed at what was on the way, and looked to delay the inevitable as long as they could. If you know layoffs are coming, perhaps you delay it to help allow members to pay off their personal debts, or look for alternative employment while they can. I don't know for sure, as this is all just a guess, but we aren't too far away from a similar reduction in other places. Think airline pilots. Think autoworkers. Think teachers. Unions, right or wrong, aren't staffed by stupid people, even though their actions may appear to be so (or be just plain stupid regardless of perspective...) Railroad unions were a part of the problem, no doubt, but don't be so hard on them; for every lazy old hand that hurt the bottom line, there was at least one more that cared about their job, and their railroad.
were provisions system wide for the protection of employees in train and
engine service. We had our rights to a portion of the work through one
method or another. Yes some people had to either relocate or commute
(drive) to a work location much farther from home but nearly everybody
who wanted to work was able to work and in some cases a far better job
than they were working in their home territory.
As for non-operating employees, they had different situations all over the
place and I don't know as much about them as I did about the T & E jobs.