Crew Sizing

CLEVELAND, Ohio (Feb. 23, 2021) — Two of the country’s largest freight railroad unions achieved a favorable decision in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday regarding an attempt by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to preempt legislation passed by a number of states that established a minimum of two-person operating crews on freight trains.

The case, brought by the states of California, Washington and Nevada and by the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers — Transportation Division (SMART-TD) and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), challenged former FRA Administrator Ron Batory’s attempt to cancel the laws of those and other states while at the same time attempting to authorize nationwide one-person crews. The unions and states argued that Batory’s May 2019 order violated the comment-and-notice procedures of Administrative Procedures Act (APA) and that his agency could not implicitly preempt the state safety rules.

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HB 1841

To all members:

HB 1841 – Establishing Minimum Crews on Certain Trains, as of Tuesday, March 10, 2020, has passed out of the Washington State House on a Concurrence Vote, 64 yea – 33 nay. It was then signed by Madam Speaker, Laurie Jinkins on March 11, 2020, for its finalization in the House, with the additional signature of Lt. Governor / President Cyrus Habib in the Senate, on March 12, 2020, in its final review.

Currently, this legislation is at the desk of Washington State Governor, Jay Inslee for signing. With his signature, the bill will become what is known as Session Law.

However, even at this endpoint, the railroad lobbyists continue to make attempts to stifle the progress of this much-needed safety legislation. Despite this fact, we are taking countermeasures to ensure once and for all, this bill makes it across the finish line on the behalf of our membership.  As the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen – Washington State Legislative Board, Chairman I remain resolute and resolved in the successful outcome of our 2-Person Crew bill.

I would like to thank all of the members within our great fraternal organization, that have been supportive in our boards’ efforts in establishing this legislation through its journey, which we have been in pursuit of for the last seven (7) years.

There will be more information forthcoming upon the bill’s final passage into law.

Thank you.

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Minimum crew size bill awaits vote in Washington State Senate


INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, April 16 – The BLET Washington State Legislative Board, in conjunction with the SMART-TD Washington Legislative Board, has been lobbying the Washington State Legislature in support of legislation that would require two qualified crew members on trains operating in the state of Washington. Recently, this legislation (HB 1841) passed the State Assembly and will soon be voted on by the State Senate.

Public safety in regards to hazardous material trains is a driving force behind support of the legislation. Since 2009, Washington State has seen a dramatic increase in hazardous material trains (e.g., highly flammable crude oil and compressed gases). U.S. oil production is expected to increase 25 percent by 2025, and it is expected that much of this oil will be transported by trains. This legislation gives Washington State the capability to require more than two crew members for these types of trains, if it is determined by the state’s Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) that doing so would mitigate the risk to public safety when in route to the state’s oil refineries.
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Public Hearing – Senate Labor & Commerce Committee

To All,

On Tuesday, March 26, 2019 at 8:30 am, there will be a Public Hearing held in the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee / Senate Hearing Rm 1- on the Capitol Campus, in Olympia, WA at the John A. Cherberg Building, to provide further testimony in support of HB 1841; Establishing Minimum Crew Size on Certain Trains, (2-Person Crew/Minimum Train Crew Standards).

As the push against our legislation by the carrier and their lobbyists is ever present, we continue to make positive movement through the legislative process.

However, we cannot let ourselves become complacent and allow the safety of the Public and Railroad Labor to be compromised.

As the generations before us, we will spend the majority of our lives out on these rails; all with families to provide for and communities of which we belong.

With the profits of the 7 Class I carriers at an all time high, there is one thing they always seem to forget; and it is something we should continue to remember, “Railroad Labor makes them profitable; it is not the other way around.

Let us keep our interests in mind, so that we may do what we do best – Move the Freight in a safe and professional manner..!

If you have any questions pertaining to the Senate Public Hearing, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you.


Shahraim C. Allen
Washington State Legislative Board
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen
International Brotherhood of Teamsters – Rail Conference

REVISED SENATE HB 1841 Flyer Final 03-2019

Legislative Public Hearing

Brothers and Sisters,

Please see the attached flyer of the Public Hearing, pertaining to Rail Labors Legislation, which is being progressed together in the 2019 Legislative Session by both the BLET and the SMART-TD.

We continue to work tirelessly in your behalf communicating with Legislators everyday, expressing our needs and concerns associated with Safety and Fatigue Issues in the Railroad Industry. They are very receptive of the fact that both organizations are working together, in a cohesive manner to promote our purpose, as they need perspectives of each craft to grasp the big picture. Continue reading “Legislative Public Hearing”