FRA Waiver

Brothers and Sisters

As most of you know, the coalition of railroads have petitioned the FRA for an emergency wavier in response to the COVID 19 virus.  The wavier asked for relief from many regulations that they felt could be viewed as hindering operations during this crisis.  With a former railroad CEO as administrator of the FRA, they felt like now is the time to once again, exercise this channel.  As you have heard, they were granted their wish list by the administrator, Ron Batory.  The railroads used manpower shortages as the reason for the necessity while they have thousands furloughed.  The wavier letter is attached and you can read it for yourself.  The railroads will use this waiver in any way they can to circumvent our agreements as well as federal regulations.  
 However, we should not let this wavier keep us from performing our duties safely.  When instructed to violate a federal regulation through this regulatory relief, inform the asking manager of the existing regulation and your safety concerns, do not be insubordinate, and document their name and all pertinent information and send it to me or any union officer for us to document.  For now, that is what I recommend.  The railroads are required to keep record of each instance of relief from a regulation.  I suspect that they will report very few instances.  
Please do not be insubordinate.  This is not something we can change.  We will be guided by our national officers through the General Committees.  
I cannot stress this enough, this is a direct result of the 2016 election.  This railroad CEO, appointed in 2017, is in charge of our regulatory office instead of a safety conscious public servant.  This is the nation's public safety officer with regards to the rail industry.  Safety is far behind corporate profit on his priority list.
Please be safe and do your best to prevent the spread of this very contagious virus.  As our national president said on a conference call today, before this is over, someone you know will no longer exist. 
I will keep you informed as I receive information.
I wish you health.
Stay well,
Calvin Groose
BLET Missouri State Legislative Board
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