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Legislative Update September 2013

Legislation to Require 2-Person Crew Size Introduced In August, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and the Transportation Division of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation International Association (SMART) jointly filed legislation in Congress to require at least two crew members on all freight trains in the United States. Initial sponsors for the legislation, entitled the “Safe Freight Act,” are Representatives Michael Michaud (D-ME) and Chellie Pingree (D-ME), and the bill is expected to be assigned to the House Transportation and Infrastructure (“T&I”) Committee for consideration. The legislation reflects heightened concerns over crew size arising from the tragic July 6 derailment of a Montreal, Maine & Atlantic (MM&A) fuel train in Lac Mégantic, Quebec, which killed 47 and destroyed the center of the town. The MM&A train was crewed by a single person. BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce called on the House to take up the bill at its earliest opportunity. “We thank Representatives Michael Michaud (D-ME) and Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and urge more Representatives to join in support.” Union Pacific to Install Inward-Facing Cameras Union Pacific (UP) is planning to join Kansas City Southern (KCS) in installing inward-facing cameras in its locomotives. The rail company asked a federal court last month to clarify its authority to install the cameras under existing agreements with labor unions. Although the cameras have audio recording capabilities, UP has stated that the audio will not be activated at this time. A federal court in Louisiana ruled in KCS’s favor earlier this year that cameras can be installed without the possibility of a legal strike. The BLET continues to oppose this action, stating that it is an invasion of privacy.

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