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!

RWU hosts a Closed Group Facebook page. It is a place for railroaders (except management) to connect and share information.  It is open to all railroaders- whether they are union or non-union, rank and file contractors or are RWU members or not.  We realize any internet "forum" available for discussions can sometimes get antagonistic, but we require all to remain respectful and tolerant.  Give us your union or railroad affiliation when you request access to the page.

The 2016 RWU Biennial Convention is in Chicago on Thursday, March 31st & Friday April 1st at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare

All RWU members are encouraged to mark your calendars, make plans to attend, and pick your vacation for 2016 accordingly. Please join us in Chicago, Illinois — railroad capital of North America and the world — as we conduct a two-day series of workshops and discussions, consider bylaws changes, elect officers, adopt resolutions and hear from a broad array of speakers from among our own ranks and from fellow workers both near and far. . . READ MORE


Don’t delay - register today. Click to register online or you may print a copy of the paper form and mail it in with your payment.

Read the new issue of The Highball

Read the new issue of The Highball

[ Many of the BBS "experts" (E. Scott Geller) just can't admit they were wrong. But some are beginning to realize that a safety program that will not address the underlying causes/hazards or the culpability of corporate management's attitude is doomed to fail.  Note:  This article is from EHS Today. Emphasis is strictly ours.]

Behavior-Based Safety: Myth or Magic?

Behavior-based safety is a broad term used to describe everything from basic employee behavior audits and feedback to a comprehensive safety management system designed to change a company’s safety culture.

Oct 1, 2007

When it was introduced, behavior-based safety (BBS) was seen as a magic panacea for everything that ailed safety programs. “It was the Swiss Army Knife of safety programs. It could take care of everything,” says Ron Bowles, director of operations for Portland, Ore.-based Strategic Safety Associates. “Now people realize that it is just one tool and more are needed.”

Decades after the initial launch of BBS programs, the process has lost favor with many safety managers, who claim the cost – such programs can be expensive – and the long-term results are not what they expected.

Some experts argue that expectations for BBS were unrealistic from the start, while others believe the process has been corrupted at some companies, transformed into an auditing program that assumes a “blame the employee” attitude about safety failures.   CLICK HERE to read more.

Announcing the Railroad Workers Education & Legal Defense Foundation

Railroad Workers United now has a 501c(3) Foundation dedicated to educating and defending railroad workers interests across North America and providing them with the tools they need to win.


Railroad Workers Education & Legal Defense Foundation (RWELDF) is set up to receive tax-deductible donations in order to provide grassroots education and leadership development programs that help railroad workers understand the issues they face, to build unity and solidarity among railroaders, and ensure democracy and transparency in our unions.




Railroad Workers Education & Legal Defense Foundation does not and never will solicit or accept funding from any employer-related or anti-labor sources.

Rail workers score big safety win in California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (PAI) - Rail workers scored a big safety win in California on August 21 as state lawmakers gave final approval to a bill mandating two-person crews on all freight trains.

The measure, pushed by the Teamsters and their California affiliates, the Rail Division of SMART - the former United Transportation Union - and the state labor federation, now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown, D-Calif., who is expected to sign it.

Rail unions nationwide have been pushing for the two-person crews while the rail carriers have been pushing for just one, an engineer. Several months ago, the head of one carrier, the Burlington Northern, advocated crewless freights. 

(Quote from article:  "The proposed California statute requires trains and light engines carrying freight within the nation's largest state - home to one of every eight Americans - to be operated with "an adequate crew size," reported Railroad Workers United, a coalition of rank-and-file rail workers from SMART, the Teamsters and other unions.")


RWU Press Release:

Railroad Workers United Statement Regarding Amtrak Train #188

It has been a week now since Amtrak Train #188 derailed at speed east of Philadelphia, PA. The last week has witnessed endless speculation as the official investigation into the cause of the derailment continues apace. Those of us in the rail industry anxiously await the findings. Meantime, regardless of what the NTSB, the FBI and other agencies discover and conclude about the tragic wreck, there are a number of facts that are worth considering. 


READ:  Who's Really to Blame for Train Wrecks?

Here is Brother John Wright's (RWU Co-chair) video report on the conference in Richmond CA.

Brother J.P Wright's Away-from-Home TV Report

Why an Alliance of Rail Labor & the Community is Essential

Railroad Workers United is proud to be at the forefront of the emerging labor-community alliance to defend our mutual interests. Railroad workers and the communities we operate through have similar yet differing interests. But these interests are surely close enough that they pose a historic possibility, a window of opportunity, for a new alliance that would strength-en both labor and community vis a vis the rail carriers. Click on link above for more information

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 held our 4th Biennial Convention in as a part of theLabor Notes Conference in Chicago IL, on April 3rd & 4th, 2014.

You can read all about it in the Highball by CLICKING HERE

We will be holding our 5th Biennial Convention on March 31 & April 1, 2016 at the 2016 Labor Notes Conference in Chicago, IL.

NEW Fatigue Monitoring Form/Bad Lineups

Click on the link above to take you to our page to fill out this all so important form and to get more information, it is a valuable tool in our box that can save many lives down the road....


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

Get the current issue of RWU's newsletter, The Highball.

Get the current issue of RWU's newsletter, The Highball.

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 advent of new technology together with a decline in union power, coupled with the rail carriers’ arrogant disregard for worker and public safety has seen the standard five-person train crew drop first to three, and then to two crew members. Now the big railroad companies have their sights set on implementation of the universal single employee train crew. The only thing that can stop them is YOU! Please join with Railroad Workers United in our effort to stop the implementation of single employee train crews!"

"The advent of new technology together with a decline in union power, coupled with the rail carriers’ arrogant disregard for worker and public safety has seen the standard five-person train crew drop first to three, and then to two crew members. Now the big railroad companies have their sights set on implementation of the universal single employee train crew. The only thing that can stop them is YOU! Please join with Railroad Workers United in our effort to stop the implementation of 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...


To provide assistance to others who may be concerned about rail yards or rail lines in or near their communities. CLICK HERE FOR SITE

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]

RWU Steering Committee Member Mark Burrows

Mark speaking at UTU convention 2011, very inspiring, check it out

RWU Adopts a Series of New Resolutions at Convention

At the 4th Biennial Convention in Chicago, RWU adopted a series of resolutions. While these are simply public statements of our position of various issues, they are designed to anchor the organization and give it guidance and direction in the coming years. Without action of course, these resolutions are hollow words. So let’s make them happen!

Resolution on Dignity & Respect

 This Resolution commits RWU to set up a committee to address issues of dignity and respect for railroad workers on the job. These human situations are at the core of most of the challenges we face on the rails. Be it labor relations, policies, culture, etc. RWU will soon create a survey to invite the membership of RWU and all railroad employees to weigh in on the seriousness of the issues surrounding dignity and respect. We will advertise the survey on our website, list serve, and through social media. Be on the lookout for this soon and have your voice heard.

 Resolution on Expanding RWU in Canada and Mexico

 While we now have RWU members in most states in the U.S., mass membership has failed to take root in Canada or Mexico. This resolution cites the importance of building RWU among all three countries of North America and commits the organization to doing just that. The rail carriers know no boundaries; for example, witness the actions of CN and CP in the U.S., or the KCS and the UP in Mexico. Railroad workers need to build international solidarity.

Resolution on Inward Facing Cab Cameras

 RWU has adopted two previous resolutions on this subject, one of great importance to the operating crafts. This new Resolution speaks to the new conditions we are now facing, since the FRA announcement this past winter of its intent to promulgate rules for the generalized installation of such cameras in all locomotives. While we still hope to stop them, this Resolution points to the need to place limits and restrictions on just how the rail carriers would be able to make use of such in-cab cameras.

Resolution on Expanding RWU in Non-Operating Crafts

 Similar to the Resolution on expanding RWU throughout North America, this Resolution directs RWU to build our membership among the non-operating crafts. While the vast majority of crafts and unions are present among the membership ranks of RWU, the organization - which has its roots in the operating crafts - continues to be dominated by those in train and engine service. This Resolution makes it clear that RWU intends to develop our membership among the non-operating crafts in the coming years.

Resolution on Ongoing Training & Education

 In the face of computerized and automated testing, abolition of group face-to-face classes, and a “one-size-fits-all” approach by the carriers, RWU has adopted this Resolution to promote regular quality learning experiences for railroad workers. Many rails are unhappy with the trend towards isolated individualized testing, the inability for employees to ask questions and obtain clarifications, and the lack of a group learning experience. We hope the rail carriers will heed this message.