MAPS, New discipline policy

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BLET President Pierce challenges railroads on fatigue, attendance policies

Locomotive engineer fatigue remains a major safety issue in the railroad industry, and BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce challenged the CEOs of North America’s six largest freight railroads to work with the BLET to help alleviate the issue. A less punitive approach to employee relations would go a long way toward making the industry safer, President Pierce said.

In a letter dated September 22, 2015, Pierce wrote: “This is to alert you to a significant problem facing … locomotive engineers who are being forced by threat of an attendance policy violation to work when fatigued, even though such safety-critical locomotive engineers honesty believe that working in such circumstances would jeopardize safety.”

Countless National Transportation Safety Board accident reports show that fatigued operating employees pose a significant safety risk for every railroad, and that “fatigue induced performance degradation” all too often contributes to or directly causes accidents. Fatigue can seriously degrade task performance, leading to longer reaction times, memory problems, poor decision-making, workload shedding, and inefficient information processing.

Pierce said a main cause of fatigue is variable work schedules, which result in unpredictable and inconsistent patterns of awake and sleep time for engineers. However, the situation is made much worse when railroads routinely fail to provide accurate train lineups.

“Due to the unpredictable nature of their assignments, compounded by glaring deficiencies in the railroad’s train lineups as compared to actual call times, these engineers are more frequently subjected to situations where they are not adequately rested through no fault of their own, despite their being in compliance with carrier calling rules,” Pierce wrote.

Punitive carrier attendance policies only make the situation worse by threatening employees with discipline for attempting to avoid hazardous conditions by laying off due to fatigue. Under current attendance policy rules, engine and train service employees could be suspended from work or even fired for laying off due to fatigue.

“Indeed, there can be no question that even the mere threat of a Carrier policy violation in these circumstance is itself an unfavorable personnel action and/or a denial of a safe place to work that not only is dangerous but may constitute a violation of federal law,” Pierce wrote.

The Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) was enacted to promote safe rail operations, and it protects employees who refuse to work in unsafe conditions and who report such conditions to their management supervisors. “Therefore, enforcement of Carrier rules and policies violates the FRSA if it denies employees a safe place to work,” Pierce wrote.

Pierce suggested the carriers include provisions in their attendance policies that allow engineers to lay off when fatigued, exhausted, overworked or otherwise unable to perform safety-critical duties.

“I strongly urge you to instruct your managers to allow locomotive engineers who find themselves fatigued to lay off due to that fatigue without fear of disciplinary retaliation,” Pierce wrote. “It is clear that if forced to work when fatigued by no fault of their own, they will be jeopardizing their own safety as well as the safe operation of the trains to which they are assigned, which in turn directly endangers the safety of the general public and their co-workers.”

Pierce told the involved CEO’s, “I am sure that you share my interest in seeing that unsafe activities that could result in needless accidents and injuries be avoided. I trust you will investigate this situation and take appropriate action so that the interests of the company, its employees, and the general public are protected against the threat that fatigue brings to safe railroad operations.”

A copy of one of the letters is available here:

Pool 1 Trip Rates

Brothers and Sisters,

Timekeeping is in the process of putting a check off box for the Pool 1 Engineers that will pay 2 trip rates when you go to Joppa or East  of Joppa, Cook, any point in between Joppa and Paducah.  

Now when called to Deadhead from Dupo to Joppa or anything East of Joppa you will be paid two trip rates.



Us or Them

We live here, 
We work here, 
We raise our families here, 
We vote here.  
Why are they telling us how things here should be done?
The above message was written by Brother Mike McGill in reference to the attachment below.  Well said Brother!
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Labor Day 2015

Labor Day 2015

By Dennis R. Pierce
BLET National President

CLEVELAND, September 4 — This weekend we celebrate American workers and the labor movement. The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City. The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen was founded on May 8, 1863, and our members were among the first to lay down their lives and fight for the rights that you enjoy today. Many Americans — not just railroaders — benefit from the sacrifices made by these early rail workers.

Organized labor has contributed substantially to the highest standard of living and the highest levels of worker production the world has ever known. While Labor Day is intended to be a tribute to the sacrifices of workers, we unfortunately find that these contributions are now less valued than they have been at any time since the exploitive days before the dawn of the labor movement.

As we have seen recently, government and big business are conspiring against workers by crafting policies that are intended to hurt working men and women instead of celebrating them as the back bone of society. This is evident in the so-called “right-to-work” battle currently raging in the state of Missouri. It is a part of the War on Workers, which has been in high gear for the past several years.

Big business and the government have done everything in their power to ensure a weak labor movement. Why? A weak labor movement cannot best represent the interests of workers and a weak labor movement is less likely to put fair wages into the hands of any company’s employees.

On this Labor Day, becoming involved in your union and supporting union-friendly candidates at the ballot box are two of the best ways you can stand up for working families and Middle Class Americans. This is your Brotherhood, and we can be only as strong as your willingness to get involved and stay involved; that is your personal obligation as a BLET member. Fulfilling your obligation to vote in union elections, as well as national, state and local elections, is the best way to honor those who fought for your right to vote, whom we remember this weekend. We need to work together to transform government from a tool of the bosses to a servant of the people.

We certainly have our work cut out for us, but we realize that the stakes are far too high to lose. On behalf of the BLET Advisory Board, I wish you all a happy and healthy Labor Day. 

Local Chairmen Email

Your Local Chairman's email address is now found on the contact tab of the GCA website.  Don't forget to send them your email address so you won't get locked out of the websites for your Hubs.  We will be locking down soon as our Webmaster is going on vacation for 4 weeks so if you don't make the cut you will be locked out until he returns from vacation.


GCA website      

Website Access

Brothers and Sisters,

Please make sure your Local Chairman has your correct email address, you will lose access to the web page if we don't have your email.   You will be required to Login to the page with a user id and password. You will be receiving instructions on setting up your password via your email address. 

Thanks in advance,



If you are called and subsequently released the computer will ask you if you have been called and released. Do not falsely answer this question, new programming is going to catch those employees who have been called and released, then check no to the answer if they were called and released.  Lying about the call and release, tying up and going home at the bottom of the board is going to get serious.  Do not be the person caught in this situation, if less than 4 hours, you should go first out.  If over 4 hours then you go to the bottom of the board.  This is an advance warning, please spread the word.

Welcome to the new BLE-T St. Louis Hub website

The site will soon be updated with with more information.