SMART-TD And BLET Join BRS in Ratifying Agreements with the Freight Railroads

Posted by Anthony Dimond on December 2, 2017

Accords Now Cover Over 81,000 in National Bargaining

Nearly 80 percent of the members of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers – Transportation Division (SMART-TD), including its Yardmasters Division, and 88 percent of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLET) members ratified new contract terms with the nation’s largest freight railroads.

Four of the six unions in the coalition known as the Coordinated Bargaining Group (CBG) have ratified tentative agreements reached with the railroads in early October. The unions in the CBG represent almost 60 percent of the 145,000 employees covered in this bargaining round.

“I want to thank the unions for their dedicated efforts,” said Chairman Lance Fritz. “I’m pleased we were able to negotiate a deal that was ratified by our employees, ensuring the Union Pacific team can continue its vital role building America.”

Earlier this week, two other CBG members, the American Train Dispatchers Association (ATDA) and the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS), announced the ratification of their tentative agreements.

“Ratification of these agreements demonstrates that collective bargaining in the rail industry succeeds when the parties are committed to doing the hard work necessary to find common ground,” said A. Kenneth Gradia, chairman of the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC), the railroads’ bargaining representative. “These agreements serve as a pattern for the resolution of national negotiations with the rest of the rail unions.”

“The 20,000 UP employees represented by BLET, BRS and SMART-TD will be well served by this voluntary agreement,” said Joe O’Connor, vice president-Labor Relations.

In addition to Union Pacific, the NCCC represents more than 30 railroads, including BNSF, CSX Transportation, Kansas City Southern and Norfolk Southern, in national bargaining with 12 rail unions. Bargaining began in 2015.

Additionally, the NRLC website contains information on the negotiation process and issues being negotiated.

Topics: National | No Comments »

Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen Ratifies Agreement With The Freight Railroads

Posted by Anthony Dimond on November 30, 2017

Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen Ratifies Agreement With The Freight Railroads

Members of the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS) have ratified new contract terms with the nation’s largest freight railroads. The BRS is the second in the six-union coalition known as the Coordinated Bargaining Group (CBG) to ratify the tentative agreements reached with the railroads in early October. The American Train Dispatchers Association announced its agreement was ratified by the membership Nov. 27.

“We’re glad to hear that BRS members have endorsed this agreement,” said A. Kenneth Gradia, chairman of the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC), the railroads’ bargaining representative. “We are hopeful that similar announcements will be forthcoming in the next few days from other unions in this coalition. As I’ve noted, these agreements serve as a pattern for the resolution of national negotiations with the rest of the rail unions.”

The other four unions in the CBG are: the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen; the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Forgers and Helpers; the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers; and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers – Transportation Division (SMART-TD), including its Yardmasters Division.

The unions in the CBG represent 85,000 employees, almost 60 percent of the 145,000 employees covered in this bargaining round, which began in 2015.

The NCCC represents more than 30 railroads, including BNSF, CSX Transportation, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific, in national bargaining with the rail unions.

Additionally, the NRLC website contains information on the negotiation process and issues being negotiated.

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Bill to repeal right-to-work nationwide introduced in Senate

Posted by admin on September 23, 2017

Bill to repeal right-to-work nationwide introduced in Senate

(Source: Washington Examiner, September 21, 2017) 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senate Democrats introduced legislation Wednesday to repeal all state right-to-work laws, arguing that the laws, which prevent workers from being forced to join or financially support a labor union as a condition of employment, are wrong because they make it harder to form unions. The legislation is two sentences long: “This act may be cited as the ‘Protecting Workers and Improving Labor Standards Act’. Subsection (b) of section 14 of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 164) is repealed.”

Full story: Washington Examiner

Thursday, September 21, 2017

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Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest

Posted by Anthony Dimond on January 31, 2017

Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest

LEADING OFF

WI Redistricting: Late in 2016, a federal district court struck down Wisconsin’s Republican-drawn state Assembly map as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. On Friday, the court followed up that decision by ordering the legislature to craft new districts for the 2018 elections by Nov. 1. Of course, those same lawmakers were responsible for creating the very maps that were struck down in the first place, so it remains to be seen how the court will treat any remedial plans that legislators come up with, but this latest ruling represents progress in a case that’s crucial for redistricting reform.
Wisconsin is one of the most gerrymandered states in the country: Democrats won the statewide popular vote for the Assembly in 2012, but the GOP’s maps helped them maintain their majority. New maps could upend that. But even more importantly, this ruling might also have much broader implications, because a likely appeal to the Supreme Court could set the stage for a national precedent constraining partisan gerrymandering.
An earlier Supreme Court ruling called Vieth v. Jubelirer previously held that partisan gerrymandering could be unconstitutional. But in that case, Justice Anthony Kennedy, as the deciding vote, refused to strike down the particular map in question for lack of a manageable standard to determine when impermissible partisan gerrymandering takes place.
The plaintiffs in Wisconsin, however, have sought to overcome that problem by proposing one such standard called the “efficiency gap” that would examine how many votes get “wasted” in each election. Under this test, if one party routinely wins landslide victories in a few seats while the other party wins much more modest yet secure margins in the vast majority of districts, it could signify a gerrymander that has gone so far as to infringe upon the rights of voters to free speech and equal protection.
While the federal district court did not rely solely on the plaintiffs’ “efficiency gap” in reaching its decision, the opinion appears to have been precisely designed with Kennedy’s Vieth ruling in mind. Should plaintiffs ultimately succeed in persuading the Supreme Court’s perennial swing justice to finally set forth a standard to judge when partisan gerrymandering crosses the line, courts could begin striking down redistricting plans across the nation and at all levels. Republicans have gerrymandered 55 percent of congressional districts and most state legislatures nationwide, so such a decision could have extremely far-reaching consequences.

GUBERNATORIAL

MI-Gov: The upcoming 2018 GOP primary has looked like a duel between Attorney General Bill Schuette, who was a prominent Trump supporter during the presidential campaign, and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, who is an ally of termed-out Gov. Rick Snyder. However, physician Jim Hines (not to be confused with Connecticut Democratic Rep. Jim Himes) is the only notable Republican who has actually kicked off a campaign so far.
Hines starts out with almost no name-recognition, though he claims he’s willing to send “millions” of his own money to his campaign. State Sen. Patrick Colbeck, who is close to tea partiers, also is considering, while Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller, who recently left the U.S. House, hasn’t ruled it out. On the Democratic side, ex-state Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer is currently the only credible candidate running, though Rep. Dan Kildee is considering.
MN-Gov: Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek had reportedly been considering a run for governor, and now for the first time he’s publicly confirmed his interest. In an email to supporters, Stanek, a Republican, says that he “continue[s] to evaluate the race” but then asked for contributions to his sheriff’s campaign, saying it would help him “prepare” for a gubernatorial bid.
It appears that Stanek could transfer funds from one account to the other, and that’s certainly standard procedure in a lot of elections (for instance, it happens all the time when a member of the House runs for Senate). But it’s a bit of an awkward ask, since normally you don’t make it so obvious that you’re looking for a promotion while you continue to solicit donations for your current job. Stanek would be up for re-election next year, and the governor’s race is taking place at the exact same time, so obviously Stanek has to choose between the two.
Stanek could also face serious problems with Republican voters, especially at the state GOP convention, when many nominations are hashed out among activist delegates who prefer purer strains of conservatism. Stanek has long touted his bipartisan appeal, and it would likely serve him well in a general election. But at a speech to last year’s convention, he insisted that Republicans should “get rid of the party test and the ‘not conservative enough’ message,” which is not the kind of thing delegates usually like to hear.
Stanek could bypass the convention and choose to contest the primary, but even then, he’d still have to face a lot of hardcore right-wing voters. And with a ton of other prominent Republicans considering bids of their own, Republican voters in Minnesota will definitely have more strident options to choose from.

HOUSE

SC-05: Despite his tax problems, GOP Rep. Mick Mulvaney is unfortunately still likely to be confirmed as Trump’s head of the Office of Management and Budget. Trump carried Mulvaney’s upstate House seat 57-39, and the GOP nominee should have little trouble winning the likely special election. State Rep. Ralph Norman announced last month that he’d run if Mulvaney resigns, and two more Republicans have joined him in the emerging race.
Sheri Few is a prominent state opponent of Common Core educational standards, and she took a close third place in the 2014 primary for superintendent of education. (Few says she carried the 5th District during that race.) The other new contender is family law attorney Kris Wampler. Several other Republicans are also considering, and we should see more action once Mulvaney resigns.

LEGISLATIVE

WI State Senate, WI State Assembly: A federal court recently struck down Wisconsin’s GOP-drawn state Assembly map as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander (see our WI Redistricting item) and ordered the legislature to draw a new one for 2018. Daily Kos Elections has calculated the 2016 presidential results for Wisconsin’s current state legislative districts—including both the Assembly lines that were just invalidated as well as the state Senate map, which still stands—to get an idea of just how GOP-friendly these maps are. The answer, unsurprisingly, is that they’re very gerrymandered.
In 2012, Obama defeated Romney 53-46 statewide, but only carried 16 of the state’s 33 Senate seats and 43 of its 99 Assembly districts. Trump, meanwhile, won the state by just 1 point, but ran away with an amazing 23 Senate seats and 63 Assembly seats. (Trump traded two Assembly seats that Romney won for nine Obama districts in the chamber.) In other words, by winning statewide by just a 48-47 margin, Trump carried 70 percent of the Senate and 64 percent of the Assembly. That’s insane.
Another way to look at this is to sort each seat in each chamber by Trump’s margin of victory over Clinton and see how the seat in the middle—known as the median seat—voted. Trump carried the median Senate seat 53-42 and took the median Assembly seat 52-42. That means that, under the current maps, Badger State Democrats would need to carry a ton of red turf to even have a chance at seizing a bare majority, no easy proposition.
As you’d expect, Senate Republicans hold a considerable majority—20 to 13, with three Democrats representing Trump seats. Two of those Democrats, Janet Bewley and Kathleen Vinehout, won in 2014 and will be up next year. Bewley’s northern Wisconsin SD-25 went from 56-43 Obama all the way to 52-43 Trump, while Vinehout’s Eau Claire-area SD-31 swung from 55-44 Obama to 49-45 Trump. State Sen. Dave Hansen managed to win last year 51-49 as his constituents were backing Trump 53-42; four years before, his Green Bay SD-30 backed Obama 52-47. He won’t go before voters again until 2020, though.
The GOP holds two other state Senate seats that swung from Obama to Trump. The southwestern SD-17 went from 57-42 all the way to 52-43 Trump, while the Appleton-based SD-19 went from an extremely narrow 49.16-49.15 Obama win to 50-43 Trump; both seats are up in midterm years. The only potentially bright spot for Team Blue was the suburban Milwaukee SD-05, which went from 56-43 Romney to just 48-47 Trump; GOP state Sen. Leah Vukmir, who represents the seat, is next up in 2018.
The entire Assembly, meanwhile, is up every two years, and the GOP now has a 64-35 advantage in the chamber following November’s elections. Two Democrats hold Trump seats, while three Republicans sit Clinton districts. AD-23 in the Milwaukee suburbs was one of the few seats where there was a large swing towards Team Blue: While Romney won 57-41, Clinton carried it 50-45. However, GOP Assemblyman Jim Ott won re-election without any opposition. The other Romney/Clinton seat was AD-14, also in suburban Milwaukee, which went from 57-43 Romney to 49-45 Clinton; GOP Assemblyman Dale Kooyenga still won re-election by a clear 57-43. The reddest Democratic-held seat is AD-94 around La Crosse, which swung from 52-47 Obama to 49.0-45.5 Trump; Democratic incumbent Steve Doyle, however, still won re-election 53-47.
The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, and Stephen Wolf, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, and James Lambert.
To advertise in the Morning Digest, please contact advertise@dailykos.com.

Topics: State | No Comments »

National right-to-work

Posted by Anthony Dimond on January 31, 2017

Brothers,
See read the following email.
Click on this for full story.
http://www.washingtonexaminer. com/gop-introduces-national- right-to-work-legislation/ article/2613428?utm_campaign= Fox News&utm_source=foxnews.com& utm_medium=feed#.WJDdP9XXlxc. hotmail
The national right-to-work legislation likely would be a major blow to organized labor because it would allow millions of workers to opt out of union membership for the first time.
Reps. Joe Wilson of South Carolina and Steve King of Iowa are sponsoring the legislation, which would amend the National Labor Relations Act and the Railway Labor Act to prohibit what unions call “security clauses.” These are provisions that permit union-management contracts that require all employees to join a union or pay one a regular fee as a condition of employment.
“At least 80 percent of Americans are opposed to forcing employees to pay dues as a condition of their employment, and our bill would protect workers by eliminating the forced-dues clauses in federal statute. Right-to-work states, like South Carolina, have seen first-hand that job creation and economic growth comes from expanded freedoms. We need to expand common-sense reforms, like those in the National Right to Work Act to protect American workers and create jobs,” Wilson told the Washington Examiner.
Chuck M. Schulz
Wisconsin State Legislative Board – Chairman
Teamsters – Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen
2768 Oakwood Circle
Oshkosh, WI 54904
chairman@wislb.org
Cell /Office (920) 410-2953

Topics: National | No Comments »

OSHA issues recommended practices to promote workplace anti-retaliation programs

Posted by Anthony Dimond on January 17, 2017

Trade Release from OSHA
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Trade Release

Department of Labor, United States of America

U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Office of Communications
Washington, D.C.
www.osha.gov
For Immediate Release
January 13, 2017
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999

OSHA issues recommended practices to promote workplace anti-retaliation programs

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today issued Recommended Practices for Anti-Retaliation Programs to help employers create workplaces in which workers feel comfortable voicing their concerns without fear of retaliation.  The recommendations are intended to apply to all public and private sector employers covered by the 22 whistleblower protection laws that OSHA enforces.
The recommendations are adaptable to most workplaces, and employers may adjust them for such variables as number of employees, the makeup of the workforce, and the type of work performed. The concepts can be used to create a new program or enhance an existing one.
The document outlines five key elements of an effective anti-retaliation program:
1. Management leadership, commitment, and accountability
2. System for listening to and resolving employees’ safety and compliance concerns
3. System for receiving and responding to reports of retaliation
4. Anti-retaliation training for employees and managers
5. Program oversight
“These recommended practices will provide companies with the tools to create a robust anti-retaliation program,” said Jordan Barab, acting assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “In the long run, it’s good for workers and good for business.”
An initial draft of the Recommended Practices was posted for review and comment in the fall of 2016. The final document incorporates many of these comments, as described here.
These recommendations are advisory only and do not interpret or create any legal obligations, or alter existing obligations created by OSHA standards or regulations.
OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of Section 11(c) of the OSH Act, and 21 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various securities laws, trucking, airline, nuclear power, pipeline, environmental, rail, maritime, health care, workplace safety and health regulations, and consumer product safety laws. For more information, visit www.whistleblowers.gov.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
# # #

Topics: Regulatory | No Comments »

Supreme Court denies review of BLET victory on two-person train crews

Posted by Anthony Dimond on January 17, 2017

BLET NEWS FLASH

Supreme Court denies review of BLET victory on two-person train crews

http://www.ble-t.org/pr/news/newsflash.asp?id=5923

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, January 17 — The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) has secured another significant victory for rail workers — this time from the highest court in the United States — in the Union’s ongoing campaign to protect two-person train crews. On January 9, the United States Supreme Court denied a petition filed by the Wheeling and Lake Erie (W&LE) asking that the nation’s highest court review and set aside the 2015 finding by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals that the railroad’s use of managers in place of Union conductors was a major dispute under the Railway Labor Act.

In September 2013, BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce authorized a strike by W&LE Conductors over the W&LE’s repudiation of Collective Bargaining Agreements that cover the locomotive engineer and trainmen operating crafts. Specifically, the Carrier ignored longstanding crew consist agreements and operated single-person operations, refusing to assign available conductors, in an effort to eliminate Trainmen.
When W&LE challenged the strike, a federal district judge issued an injunction on the ground that the dispute was “minor” and had to be arbitrated. BLET never wavered in its position that the refusal to call Conductors was an outright contract abrogation warranting a strike, and appealed that ruling. In April 2015, a unanimous three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit agreed with BLET and reversed the lower court. The panel found that W&LE’s “claim that the Trainmen Agreement allowed it to man trains without union conductors is frivolous or obviously insubstantial, and the dispute is major.” The Court of Appeals vacated the injunction and remanded the case back to the District Court with instructions to dismiss W&LE’s complaint. The Carrier then tried unsuccessfully to get the entire Court of Appeals to vacate that decision.
Most recently, and in a last ditch effort to gain the right to ignore its agreements with BLET, W&LE petitioned the Supreme Court to take the case. BLET filed a brief in opposition, supporting the decision of the Court of Appeals, and on January 9th, the Supreme Court rejected W&LE’s petition. Consequently, the “major dispute” holding stands, vindicating the Union’s position that if W&LE wants to change the rule, it must accomplish the change at the bargaining table, not by unilateral action.
“I must first thank our members on the W&LE for helping us fight to preserve the Conductor’s job and for standing strong against the Carrier’s attempts to implement one-person trains,” President Dennis Pierce said. “When the decision was made to strike the W&LE, our members were united in their resolve and stood shoulder to shoulder on the picket line,” he continued. “This final decision by the highest court in the land reminds us all of the importance of strong contract language, followed by strong union activism to protect our contracts. The now unimpeachable decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is not only important for our W&LE members, but for all operating employees and rail labor in general. The nationwide fight over operating crew size is far from over, but this victory helps to ensure that union contracts requiring two crew members are enforceable by the union, even to the point of a strike.
“I also want to thank General Counsel Mike Wolly and his team for preserving this critical court victory on behalf of our members,” President Pierce added.
A copy of the court ruling is available for download from the BLET National Division website (PDF).
http://www.ble-t.org/pr/pdf/Supreme_Court_WLE.pdf

Topics: National | No Comments »

All Aboard Wisconsin

Posted by Anthony Dimond on January 10, 2017

Inline image 1
NEWS FROM ALL ABOARD WISCONSIN
January, 2017
Happy New Year!!
From the Officers and Board Members of All Aboard Wisconsin.
 
Moorman Announces Realignment of Amtrak Management Responsibilities, Reporting Chain.
  After having been on the job as Amtrak President and CEO for about one calendar quarter, veteran railroader Charles “Wick” Moorman has opened the New Year by announcing a reorganization of Amtrak’s senior management responsibilities and a realignment of the “reporting chain” for subordinate managers and supervisors.  In a January 4 letter to all Amtrak employees – (a .pdf copy of which is attached to this newsletter) – Moorman laid-out “five key objectives” for the reorganization, which will become effective on February 1, 2017:
  • Building a world-class safety culture with a relentless focus on training, risk reduction, positive reinforcement and personal accountability;
  • Developing and consistently providing competitive products and services;
  • Creating the teams and processes necessary to serve and grow our customers across all business segments;
  • Gaining support for and delivering on investments that sustain, improve and grow our business; and
  • Harnessing innovation, technology and partnerships to enhance and accelerate our business.
  To facilitate his stated goals, Moorman is reorganizing Amtrak’s Senior Management into six “direct reporting” business groups to “streamline decision making, increase alignment between departments, and establish clear areas of accountability.”  The six business groups announced, and the Executive Vice President in charge of each are as follows:
  • Operations – Scott Naparstek, Chief Operating Officer
  • Marketing and Business Development –  Jason Moffetas
  • Finance – Jerry Sokol, Chief Financial Officer
  • Law – Eldie Acheson, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
  • Administration – D.J. Stadtler, Chief Administrative Officer
  • Planning, Technology and Public Affairs, Stephen Gardner
   Moorman’s letter goes-on to detail the subordinate managers assigned to each of the Business Groups and promises additional information and details on the specific  changes and responsibilities of each.  In his closing remarks, Moorman specifically calls attention to the priority importance safety improvements and calls for a “continued focus” on that area. 
 
Gottleib Resigns, Ross Announced as New WisDOT Secretary.  Mark Gottleib, who has served as Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation since January 2011, has resigned that post effective on January 6, 2017.   Gottleib, a Civil Engineer by training, first entered political life as Mayor of his hometown of Port Washington, and later ran-for and served several terms as State Assembly Representative prior to being named Secretary of Transportation by the then-new Walker Administration in January 2011.  He inherited his boss’ decision – already announced during the campaign – to turn-back over $800 Million in federal funds for the expansion of passenger rail service from Milwaukee to Madison; but worked quietly, somewhat “under the radar” of publicity, to support passenger rail projects such as the $22 Million renovation of the Milwaukee Intermodal Station’s passenger concourse which opened last summer, the continued operation and proposed expansion of the highly successful Milwaukee – Chicago “Hiawatha” service with station improvements at Milwaukee’s General Mitchell Airport and Sturdevant.  Continuing studies for other expansion of passenger rail service, specifically the “TCMC” or “Second Train Study” for additional service between the “Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago”, over the same route as the Empire Builder and service to Superior as part of Minnesota’s proposed “Northern Lights Express” also continued forward during his term in office.  In addition, the Secretary conducted a statewide campaign during his tenure to seek public input on the needs and priorities for the State’s transportation system, and made clear that funding to meet those needs whould have to be a priority.  Despite recently announced support for transportation funding enhancements by legislative leaders, the Governor has made it clear that he opposes any transportation tax increases without corresponding decreases elsewhere. Gottleib’s future plans have yet to be announced. 
 
Current Professional Services Secretary David Ross was announced as the new Transportation Secretary by the Governor’s office concurrent with the announcement of Gottleib’s resignation/retirement.   Ross, the former Mayor of the City of Superior, has indicated his support for the Governor’s position on Transportation funding.  Announcement of the state’s Transportation Budget proposal for the 2017-2019 biennium is still pending. 
 
Kane Retires from AAW Board.  Dan Kane, LaCrosse resident and representative of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) State Conference Board, has announced his retirement from the Board of Directors of All Aboard Wisconsin.  The action comes concurrently with Kane’s retirement from both his “day job” at the LaCrosse Municipal Transit Utility, and his position as the Chairperson of the ATU State Conference Board, which coordinates operations and policy among all of the ATU Local unions in Wisconsin.  Dan’s interest, contributions and wise counsel while a member of the AAW Board has been greatly appreciated.  On behalf of the officers and other Board members, we wish him all the best in a well-deserved retirement. 
 
Look for AAW Booth at “Mad City Model Railroad Show”.  Following a positive experience at Milwaukee “Trainfest” last November, All Aboard Wisconsin will have a booth at the 50th Anniversary “Mad City Model Railroad Show and Sale”, held at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison on February 18-19,  2017.  Like the Milwaukee show, the Madison event attracts thousands of members of the public who have some interest in trains; whether they be scale models or “the real thing”.  It’s an excellent place to share information about what’s available now for passenger rail service in our region, and our mission to expand passenger rail and connecting public transportation and intercity bus service in Wisconsin.  As with the Milwaukee show, we will be looking for volunteers to help staff our booth at the Mad City show.  If you can help with set-up on Friday, or help staff the booth on either Saturday or Sunday, please let either Vice President Mark Quam or me know.  Watch for additional AAW events this spring, including an appearance at the Titletown Train Show in Green Bay on April 29 and 30.  
 
Goyke to Continue as AAW Legislative Director.   All Aboard Wisconsin is pleased to announce that Gary Goyke will continue as Legislative Director for the organization for the coming year.  While Gary has reduced his consulting practice to spend more time with his family and other pursuits; he has retained several clients, including AAW.  We are indeed fortunate to continue to be able to take advantage of his years of experience, great skill, and many contacts on our behalf.  Gary will also continue as Corporate Secretary and a member of both the 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 Boards of AAW.   
 
Housekeeping Details – Keeping the “Home Fires Burning” at AAW:
  • Mailing Address Change:  Please note that effective immediately All Aboard Wisconsin’s “official” mailing address has changed.  Please send all future mailings to 5302 Lighthouse Bay Drive, Madison, WI  53704.  Mail already sent to the 754 Williamson Street address will still be collected there until January 31, 2017; so if you recently sent us mail there we’ll still receive it.  
  • Have You Renewed??  Thanks so much to everyone who’s renewed their All Aboard Wisconsin memberships for 2017 so far!  Oops!  What’s that you say – you forgot to renew??  Well, everybody’s busy over the holiday season, so maybe it’s just possible that our appeals last month to renew your All Aboard Wisconsin membership for 2017 got overlooked in the hustle and bustle of the season.    Yes, we got a nice “payoff” from the Fall Conference again this year, but “every little bit helps” – and remember your dues not only help us pay our day-to-day operating expenses, they also demonstrate our members’ support to foundations and other donors that we approach for additional funding.  So, if you haven’t renewed your membership for 2017 yet“Why Not Do It Today”?!  Just fill out the membership form attached to this e-mail, and pop in your check for the level of membership you desire (please consider becoming a “Sustainer” for just $75), and mail it off to:  All Aboard Wisconsin, 5302 Lighthouse Bay Drive, Madison, WI  53704.
     
  • Recruiting Board Members:  With one open board position coming into the end of this year, and the just announced retirement of another Board member, Corporate Secretary Gary Goyke is recruiting for volunteers to serve on All Aboard Wisconsin’s 501(c)(3) Board which manages the day-to-day affairs of the Association.  Have questions?  Just give Gary a call at (608) 219-5237.  Then send him a letter indicating your interest and a brief resume to:   All Aboard Wisconsin, 5302 Lighthouse Bay Drive, Madison, WI  53704.

Topics: National | No Comments »

La Crosse Area Planning Committee looks to improve rail services.

Posted by Anthony Dimond on August 25, 2016

La Crosse Area Planning Committee looks to improve rail services.

 The La Crosse Area Planning Committee is working to improve rail services along the Mississippi Corridor, particularly here in La Crosse.   The group joined the Minnesota High-Speed Rail Commission as a voting member and financial contributor. The commission supports rail transportation services across the state of Minnesota. The La Crosse Area Planning Committee said now is a critical time to join the commission, especially as work begins on adding a second passenger train to travel that corridor from Minneapolis to Chicago.  http://www.wxow.com/story/32764059/2016/08/15/la-crosse-area-planning-committee-looks-to-improve-rail-services

Topics: State | No Comments »

Passenger rail news

Posted by Anthony Dimond on August 25, 2016

 

New_Amtrak_logo

Ticket revenue increases for train from Chicago to Indianapolis.  Ticket sale revenues have increased by 14 percent in the year since the Hoosier State passenger train from Indianapolis to Chicago changed ownership and management a year ago.  The Indianapolis Star reports that Wednesday is the first anniversary of the line’s three-year partnership among Amtrak, Iowa Pacific Holdings, the Indiana Department of Transportation and cities along the route.  http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/ticket-sales-increase-for-train-from-indianapolis-to-chicago/

 

Amtrak: Delays Cut By Nearly 25 Percent Due To New Locomotives.  As Amtrak prepares to roll out the last of 70 new locomotives, the passenger rail corporation says the engines have helped reduce delays by more than 20 percent.  The new engines were introduced three years ago and are used on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor line between Washington, D.C., and Boston, and its Keystone service between Philadelphia and Harrisburg.  http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2016/08/04/amtrak-delays-cut/

 

Amtrak wants to pick developer by summer 2017 to renovate Baltimore’s Penn Station.  Amtrak officials said Wednesday they plan to pick a developer by this time next year to renovate Baltimore’s century-old Penn Station, a project that’s been stalled for years.  The quasi-public railway took a step toward tackling the station’s countless overdue infrastructure improvements by soliciting qualifications from developers, consultants, engineers and other potential bidders. Rina Cutler, Amtrak’s senior director of major stations planning and development, said officials want a vision for the station to come from those who would take on the project.  http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/commuting/bs-md-amtrak-penn-station-redevelopment-20160810-story.html

 

Freight Railroads Fight New Rule for Amtrak Trains.  Freight railroads are challenging in federal court a new stricter way of measuring on-time performance for Amtrak trains, the latest wrinkle in a battle over how far freight trains must go to enable passenger trains to arrive on time….Amtrak and freight railroads have faced off in recent months as the Surface Transportation Board and other regulators try to fine-tune a system that will improve Amtrak’s on-time performance. Under the law, if any passenger train route averages less than 80% on-time for any two consecutive quarters, the law gave the board the right to determine the cause. If it’s due to a freight railroad’s failure to give Amtrak preference, the regulator can award damages or other appropriate relief.  Amtrak won a recent skirmish over the definition of “preference”—who gets to go first—when the Surface Transportation Board decided to keep the status quo. Much is at stake. Freight railroads are currently struggling with profitability after boom years driven by a surge in crude-by-rail and commodities went bust, sending volumes plunging. Amtrak has been trying to boost service and reliability of its intercity and long-haul routes around the country. http://www.wsj.com/articles/freight-railroads-fight-new-rule-for-amtrak-trains-1471426202

 

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