Revised Bill # for “REEF Act” S.4860

Revised Bill # for “REEF Act” S.4860

Attached is a Mobilization message for immediate distribution to your networks regarding S.4860 – The Railroad Unemployment Equity and Fairness Act (“REEF Act”). This legislation would ensure that unemployed railroad workers receive fair and equal unemployment benefits by removing the harmful cuts known as sequestration, that single out railroad workers. It is especially important to address this issue now due to the high number of railroad workers who are furloughed or ill due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are asking everyone to contact their Senators and request them to Support (“REEF Act”) S.4840.

Thanking you in advance for your dedication to Our Union movement.

AMTRAK Re-authorization / The importance of Labor Unions

Brothers and Sisters,

In the reflection of Labor Day and what it stands for, I wanted to share a deeper look into a portion of what a Labor Union provide to its members. The following is a real life situation that was truly an eye opener for me from a recent conversation. Over the last few weeks, I have been in consistent contact with Brother Clem Harris, Local Chairman / Legislative Representative of BLET Division 15, Albuquerque, New Mexico, who has helped initiate a boots to the ground movement getting the word out to BLET members far and wide to contact their U.S.Senators for their support in the movement of H.R. 2 / INVEST in America Act, which will pick up where the FAST Act leaves off (please see the informational emails below), in the funding of Amtrak’s Long-Haul / National Network. Additionally, working with the New Mexico State Legislative Board, Chairman – Eric Gabaldon, he was instrumental in discussions with Congressional Leadership of New Mexico in the preservation of the Southwest Chief, when this National Service was in jeopardy between Trinidad and Santa Fe.

In one of our talks, I asked Brother Clem about his career prior to working for Amtrak, he went on to explain the time that he worked for a non-union carrier, which has many departments and facilitates just about everything in the railroad industry that you could imagine. Here’s the story as told by Brother Clem, as it relates to the carrier : I worked for them for 11 years. I hired out in Texas on the TRE (Trinity Railway Express). I was part of the start up crew from Rail Runner in New Mexico. I did anything from Conductor, to Engineer, Dispatcher (put through BNSF’s Dispatching Class at TCC in Ft. Worth, TX) to mechanized tie gangs, Rules Examiner, and their equivalent of an RFE ( Road Foreman of Engines).
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2020 Washington Freight Stakeholder Group / JTC, Workforce Group – Appointments

To all members,

I wanted to bring the following to your attention which will allow further inroads to be established on the state-level, as it applies to safety and operating practices of the railroad industry in Washington State.

I was recently recommended by the International Longshoremen and Warehouse Union, Washington Area District Council – President, Dan McKisson, to the WSDOT – Director of Rail, Freight and Ports Division – Ron Pate, for the appointment as the Railroad Labor Representative of the WSDOT, Washington Freight Stakeholder Group.

Additionally, I have been appointed as the Railroad Labor Representative to the House and Senate, Joint Transportation Committee of Washington State -Workforce Group, Addressing Rail Safety Governance in Washington State. This was directly achieved through the “ask” that I made to the Prime Sponsor of SHB 2287 prior to the House Transportation, Public Hearing addressing this bill, in the Legislative Session of 2020. Representative Mari Leavitt of the 28th Legislative District, made the consideration at that moment to add a representative(s) of labor, as a stakeholder(s) to the statute, which became law through a state budget provision.
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August 4th Primary Elections, Endorsement

To All,

The following are the 2020 Primary Election Endorsements, by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, and SMART-TD, Washington State Legislative Boards. Those listed have either supported and worked with us to establish law on your behalf, or have proven to be noteworthy in their abilities to represent your best interests moving forward. Please see the attachment, below.

There will be Candidate Interviews scheduled across the state, for those seeking labors endorsement for the General Election, on November 3, 2020.

If there is anyone running for an elected position which you believe will support and work on the behalf of Railroad Labor, Family-Waged Jobs, Workers Rights, etc. that have not been endorsed by us, send me an email with their informational background. Please be sure to CC your Division Legislative Representative as well.
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Unemployment Securities Department

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

As of Sunday, April 26th, workers eligible for the new pandemic unemployment assistance program filed their first claims. There is an unprecedented volume of claims expected to be received by the Employment Security Department (ESD), some workers may benefit from guidance on how to access unemployment during covid-19. I invite you to share the ESD talking points with all whom you know are affected in your network of family, friends, etc., with the websites, and social media content (below)

Additionally, for your reference, below is the email that hundreds of thousands of workers received from ESD in the last Friday / Saturday.

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HB 1841 – Establishing Minimum Crew Size on Certain Trains / Signed into Law

Brothers and sisters,

At 2:30pm Friday, March 27, 2020, Governor Jay Inslee signed into law HB 1841 – Establishing Minimum Crew Size on Certain Trains, which sets into place long overdue crew size minimums for freight and passenger trains. This is a huge win for us all; it recognizes what we see in our work every day, that worker safety and public safety go hand in hand, and that we need strong laws to guarantee both. After seven long years of work, BLET and SMART-TD are proud to have secured the strongest crew size law in the country!

We did not need the coronavirus to tell us what we already know: railroad workers are essential, and so is our safety. The new crew size law makes sure that worker safety is not optional, and the Washington State Legislative Board will continue to fight, through this public health crisis and after, to make sure working men and women are safe and healthy, on the job and off. We continue to work with the Governor’s Office, state agencies, the Washington State Labor Council and others in the enforcement and to bring about awareness of state statute(s) concerning Railroad Companies – Sanitation, in your behalf.

In the 480-66 WAC’s the overall theme of the statutes listed is clean & sanitary conditions, in good repair, free of rodents, and vermin. In efforts of taking necessary precautions of not allowing the spread and therefore the infection of personnel using these area’s in question by COVID-19. I am asking for it to be determined as reasonable for the application of these WAC’s, in the argument against the minimal or non-existent methods of properly addressing this pandemic by the Class I rail carriers in our state; assisting in the efforts of the General Committee. (More information to be forthcoming)
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