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)
Please see the list of concerns brought to the attention of the Seattle Freight Advisory Board, by way of conference call on Thursday, March 26, 2020 in your behalf.
Additionally, below is a list of state senators who voted Yes on our bill and stood with us when we needed them most. If you haven’t called or emailed to thank them, please do! A thank you now reminds them that folks back home pay attention to what they do in Olympia. If you don’t know who your Senator is or need help reaching out to them, utilize the link below, email or call me anytime.
Senators Billig, Carlyle, Cleveland, Conway, Darneille, Das, Dhingra, Fortunato, Frockt, Hasegawa, Hobbs, Holy, Hunt, Keiser, Kuderer, Liias, Lovelett, McCoy, Mullet, Nguyen, Pedersen, Randall, Rivers, Rolfes, Saldaña, Salomon, Sheldon, Stanford, Takko, Van De Wege, Walsh, Wellman, Wilson, C., Zeiger
This victory speaks to the strength of our union and the power working people have when we stand together. It’s not our first, and it won’t be our last.
As Chairman of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen-Washington State Legislative Board, we have established ESHB 1105 – Concerning passenger-carrying vehicles for railroad employees (c. 2017) and HB 1841 – Establishing Minimum Crew Size on Certain Trains (c. 2020).
I am proud of these accomplishments and to have done so in the name of our great organization. We will continue to establish law, in the behalf of the membership.
Chairperson / Legislative Director
Washington State Legislative Board
Legislative Representative, Division 238, Tacoma, WA
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen
International Brotherhood of Teamsters – Rail Conference