This Is the Place for All North American Rail Workers!
Welcome to Railroad Workers United!
North American railroad workers are divided into different unions based on their craft of work and on some short lines, workers are not unionized at all. In the US alone there are thirteen unions representing railroad workers with several more unions in Canada.
We feel that history has shown that as long as we remain so divided we cannot effectively fight for our jobs and job conditions . So we have formed this inter-union, cross-craft, solidarity "caucus" of railroad workers from all crafts, all carriers, and all unions across North America.
We say every railroad worker should be actively involved in his/her union AND belong to RWU in order to build the strength and solidarity to protect our lives and jobs.
Please take the time to look over the site and look at our flyers and other literature. Read over the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). Please read our "Statement of Principles".
You can help and play an important part in making a difference. Together, we can build unity, democracy, and solidarity among ALL railroaders in North America. Please join us!
It’s Time to End Crew Fatigue and Implement PTC
As the recent Metro North passenger train wreck in New York illustrates, fatigue kills. From preliminary reports, it appears that the engineer had nodded off. This of course would not be the first time that a train crew member fell asleep. As we know, it happens all the time. In this case however, the result was catastrophic. Read More...
What’s Wrong with Single Employee Train Operations?
By Ron Kaminkow
General Secretary, Railroad Workers United
At first glance, the casual observer from outside of the rail industry is prone to say that single employee train operation sounds dangerous. “What if the engineer has a heart attack?” is an often heard question. And while this question has merit, there are many other and far more complex and unanswered questions about just how single employee train operations could be accomplished safely and efficiently for the train crew, the railroad and the general public. How will the train make a back-up move? What happens when the train hits a vehicle or pedestrian? How will the train crew member deal with “bad-order” equipment in his/her train, or make pick-ups and set-outs en route? What about job briefings and calling signals, copying mandatory directives and reminders of slow orders? These are just some questions that we take up in this article. Read More...
Railroad Workers United
4th Biennial Convention
April 3rd & 4th, 2014
Railroad Workers United will host our 4th Biennial Convention in Chicago, Illinois on Thursday and Friday, April 3rd and 4th at the Crowne Plaza Chicago Ohare Hotel & Conference Center. Please make plans to attend! This year we have expanded the Convention to be two days rather than one in order to accommodate additional workshops and discussions, strategy and planning sessions, and allow time to host a number of dynamic guest speakers.
REGISTER NOW! for the Railroad Workers United convention Online Here through WE Pay.
Read more here about how this event is tied into Labor Notes Convention making for an extremely satisfying weekend of activist activity from around the World with thousands of activist, Need your batteries charged up this is the place to do it.
Railroad Workers United Convention 2014
Check out the RWU newsletter The Highball
Each quarter, The Highball brings you news and commentary from Railroad Workers United, focusing on the issues that matter to railroad workers across North America.
You can download the current issue of The Highball here.
Click HERE to send us an email if you would like to help distribute The Highball in your work terminal and/or across your division
RWU Initiates Program to Honor and Remember Fallen Rails
The fractured nature of rail labor has led RWU to initiate a program to honor each and every railroad worker killed on the job, regardless of what craft and what union (if any) the worker was a member of. “When a brother or sister is killed in the line of duty, it is the concern of all of us, whatever position we currently hold on the property,” points out Robert Hull of the RWU “Fallen Rails Committee”. Read more...
RWU announced a Campaign Against Single Employee Train Crews.
The Campaign was officially unleashed on Labor Day 2012. The rail carriers have been slowly but surely making inroads and it is only a matter of time before they make an all-out press for universal single employee crews. RWU says HELL NO! And we encourage all of our members and supporters, all railroad workers to get involved in the campaign to stop this crap. READ MORE...
Popular Science magazine offers one of the best in-depth descriptions of the issues surrounding Positive Train Control. CLICK HERE to read.
RWU Campaign against “Blame-the-Worker” Safety Programs
During the past several years we have seen an explosion of “Blame-the-Worker” safety programs on Class 1 railroads in the U.S. These programs have been fairly commonplace in other industries and many other labor unions have been struggling with them for years. more...
Railroad Workers United: The Video
Rail freight carrier and passenger train companies have been finding ways to get their workers to do more for less for the past few decades. Considering how much the economy of the U.S. depends upon the massive amount of freight moved by trains, one would think the unions representing those workers to be very powerful. However, there are a dozen different unions, divided among craft, representing the various workers in the several rail companies in this country. To counter the divisive race to the bottom caused by cross-union fighting in the industry, rank-and-file rail workers of every craft have joined together to form RAILROAD WORKERS UNITED. [Click on the icon below]
Is "Task Overload" A Hazard?
Take the Survey!
When the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the rail carriers comment on railroaders’ jobs, they often use of the term "situational awareness". They claim that if our situational awareness is high, the number and severity of accidents would be reduced. What they don’t talk about is that the FRA & the railroads contribute to reducing our situational awareness through what is known as "task overload".
While we would agree that situational awareness is vital to the safe performance of jobs, we argue that we MUST be allowed the time and vital resources necessary to maintain situational awareness. It is meaningless to note that "the accident or injury was the result of a worker who lost situational awareness" if they ignore what caused that loss of situational awareness. Why do all humans sometimes fail to carry out their duties in a safe manner after having safely performed the same task hundreds, if not thousands of times?
We believe the answer most often lies at the feet of task overload. "Multi-tasking" has become the norm for many jobs today. Coupled with chronic fatigue, the demands of new technology, along with a multiplicity of complex and ever changing work rules, policies, procedures and directives, and the stage can quickly be set for task overload.
To determine the extent and seriousness of task overload, RWU has designed a short survey that all railroad workers are urged to complete. We included questions on operating rules and policies, manpower issues, and technology. Railroaders can include their ideas for solving the problems in the comments section.
Please take a couple of minutes to fill out the survey. The first step to solving a problem is to recognize the nature of the problem. Then we can unite to taking steps toward creating a better, safer, and less stressful work environment for all of us.