U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg speaks during a press conference near the derailment site of the Norfolk Southern Railroad in East Palestine, Ohio, USA, Thursday, February 23, 2023.
Matthew Hatcher | Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The president of the U.S. Railroad Workers’ Union told Biden administration officials that a railroad worker fell ill to improve train safety at the Norfolk Southern derailment site in East Palestine, Ohio.
Leaders of the 12 unions met Wednesday in Washington, D.C., with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Federal Railroad Administration administrator Amit Bose to discuss the derailment, the aftermath and necessary safety improvements.
Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen president Mike Baldwin said: “Today’s meeting is an opportunity for workers to share what our members are seeing and coping with every day. You must have the tools for
Jeremy Ferguson, president of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers – Transportation Division, told CNBC Buttigieg plans to hold further talks with the union in the future.
“This was a good start,” said Ferguson. “It is important to address these safety issues. .”
The meeting follows a letter sent to both the DOT and FRA on Wednesday by trade union representatives alleging that a railroad worker had fallen ill at the derailment site. CNBC is letterTo Buttigieg, Bose, East Palestinian Mayor Trent Conaway, and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, from the President of the Federation of American Rail Systems of Teamster International Brotherhood.
Norfolk Southern railroad workers who worked or continue to work at decontamination sites reported experiencing “migraine headaches and nausea,” according to the letter. The worker asked his supervisor to remove him from the derailment site because of his symptoms, but was left on site without a response from his supervisor.
The letter also alleges that workers have not been provided with adequate personal protective equipment such as respirators, eye protection and protective clothing. of workers were on the truck and were not provided with proper breathing equipment, only paper and N95 masks, and no rubber gloves, boots or cover-ups.
A spokesperson for Norfolk Southern said in a statement to CNBC that the railroad company “was on-site immediately after the derailment, coordinated a response with a hazardous materials expert on-site, and was able to safely enter the work area. , ensured that the required PPE was being used.” , all in addition to air surveillance he established within an hour. ”
A bipartisan group of senators were introduced early Wednesday Railway Safety Act 2023was intended to prevent future train disasters, such as the derailment that devastated a village in Ohio.
On March 1, 2023, presidents of 12 U.S. railroad unions met in Washington, D.C. to meet with Biden officials.
This law contains many safety protocols for the transportation of dangerous goods. It also creates requirements for trackside flaw detectors, establishes a permanent requirement for railroads to operate with at least two crew members, and raises fines for misconduct committed by railroad carriers.
“If this law is adopted, [Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen] We look forward to supporting these efforts and working together on common sense regulations that continue to improve safety,” Baldwin said.
Attending the meeting with Mr. Buttigieg and others were:
- Jeremy Ferguson, International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers – Transportation Division (SMART-TD)
- Tony Cardwell, Member of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees (BMWED)
- Edward Hall of the Brotherhood of Engineers and Railroadmen (BLET)
- Don Grissom of Brotherhood Railway Carmen (BRC)
- Michael Baldwin of Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS)
- Josh Hartford, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM)
- Lonnie Stephenson of the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers (IBEW)
- Arthur Maratea, Traffic and Communications Union (TCU)
- Vince Verna, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineer and Trainmen Vice President (BLET)
- Dean Devita, National Conference of Firemen and Oilers (NCFO)
- Leo McCann, American Train Dispatch Association (ATDA)
- John Felts of the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU)
- Al Russo of the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers (IBEW)
Correction: This article has been updated to correct the list of union representatives who attended the meeting with Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. Previous versions included union leaders who did not attend.