RWU Newsletter - The Highball

Railroad Workers United publishes a quarterly newsletter -- The Highball -- that is mailed to our membership each and every issue as part of their membership benefits. We also make the newsletter available on-line, emailing to members and non-members alike who have signed up for RWU News Alerts (see the Home Page and sign up!). It is also mailed directly to all rail union presidents.

Each issue of The Highball contains current news of the rail industry, articles where rail workers are fighting back, examples of cross-craft inter-union cooperation, coverage of what RWU is up to, together with opinion & commentary from RWU members.



Many of our members get a bundle of each issue (usually 25 copies) and distribute them to their co-workers. Look for a copy in your workplace.

Each issue is also made available for download on our website and is available on our Facebook Page.


For a comprehensive listing of all articles ever published in The Highball, see the Archives Page and click on Highball Articles.


See the comprehensive listing of all issues - including the current issue - of The Highball below. Click on the specific date to see a pdf of the entire issue.

RWU Newsletter Archive


Highball 2019 Summer: An Open Letter to All Rail Labor Union Officials; Are Rail Union Leaders Able to Harness Rank & File Power? Will They?; FRA Pulls Proposed Two-Person Crew Rule, Preempts State Legislation; Rail Carriers, Wall Street & Labor Unions — Where are YOU in this Equation; RWU Ratchets Up Campaign to Oppose Precision Scheduled Railroading; RWU Revamps Committee Structure, Encourages All Members’ Participation; Safety Board on Amtrak 501 Wreck - Engineer was set up to fail

Highball 2019 Spring: A Call to All Rail Unions - Support MLK Day as a Holiday for All Railroaders; Co-workers Raise Funds for Family Members of Those Killed in Western Canada Tragedy; CP Runaway Train Wreck Claims Three - the Latest Casualties of PSR; How Many Rails Need to be Sacrificed at the Altar of Capitalism; New Books on Rail Safety and Rail Labor History Now Available on Sale; Rail Carriers and DOT Conspire to Drop the Ball on ECP Brakes; Railroad Workers United Campaigns Against Precision Scheduled Railroading; RWU Co-Sponsoring National Book Tour to Promote Rail Safety; RWU Takes On Precision Scheduled Railroading; “Solutionary Rail” Project Gains Traction Among Diverse Constituencies; The Edge of Anarchy -The Railroad Barons, the Gilded Age, & the Greatest Labor Uprising in America; The Green New Deal - What is it and Why Rail Workers Should Support it; The PSR Tragedy for Rail Workers is Also a Tragedy for the Nation as a Whole; Trainmen and Engineers Win Contract, Maintain Two-Person Crews at W≤ Two-Person Train Crews Legislation Advances in Numerous States

Highball 2019 Winter: Amtrak Workers Protest Job Cuts and Contracting Out on Both Coasts; It is High Time for Disgruntled Rails to Stand up and Be Counted; PTC Will Save Lives But Will it Cost Jobs; RR Crew Van Drivers Struggle to Win a Good Contract; RWU Happenings - Fundraiser - Knit Hats - Local Affilation; RWU to Co-Sponsor Book Tour on Rail Safety'; The Technological Revolution and the Future of Work; UK Rail Workers and their Unions Fight to Keep the Guard; UP the Latest Railroad to Succumb to PSR


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Highball 2018 Winter: Amtrak #501 Derails in DuPont, WA - Yet Another Avoidable Wreck; RWU builds Bridges with the Rail Advocacy Community; RWU Happenings: Scapegoated Railroad Workers Acquitted in Lac-Megantic Trial; The Latest in Railroad Recklessness & Irresponsibility - The Super Pool; Track Workers Take the Lead in Protesting the Rail Carriers’ Greed!; What Can the Rank and File do About the Sad State of Rail Labor.

Highball 2018 Spring Amtrak Engineer indicted Once Again in Pennsylvania; FRA Makes Curious Request for Input, Comment on Autonomous Trains; International Rail Workers News - France and UK; It is up to the Rank & File to Push the All Craft Movement Forward!; Kansas City All Rail Crafts Coalition Meets on Workers Memorial Day; Rail Carrier Files Suit Against Employees in  Kentucky Train Wreck; Railroad Workers United Celebrates 10th Anniversary with 6th Convention; The Carriers’ Resistance to Basic Safety Applications Runs Deep; You Railroad Workers! Don’t  Waste Time Mourning  - Organize!

Highball 2018 Summer: Applying the Lessons from this National Bargaining Round; Despite Industry Claims of a Safer Railroad, Workers Continue to Die; Edgar Thompson Foundation Assists Daughters of Railroad Workers\; FRA Request for Input on Autonomous Trains Draws Over 3000 Comments; French Railway Workers’ Continued Strike Action - The Concern of All; Railroad Collisions - A Deadly Story of Mismanaged Risk by George Swimmer; RWU International Steering Committee 2018 - 2020; RWU Testifies at OSHA Hearing on Whistleblowers in the Transportation Industries; The Keolis Connection and Why it is Important in the Rail Workers’ Fight; The Profit System's Complete and Total Moral Bankruptcy; U.S. Rail Workers Delegation Meets with Cuban Railroaders

Highball 2018 Fall: A Morning with Representatives of Cuban Transportation Workers Trade Union; A Shameful Legacy - “Race” and the Railroad Industry in the United States; Amtrak Workers and Advocates Fight to Save Amtrak – From its own Management; BNSF Engineer Wins Long Sought Whistleblower Settlement; Dan Johnson, Friend and Co-Worker - Killed on the Job; Midwest News - Missouri RTW and Iowa Safety Conference; New Jersey Transit Blames its Overworked Engineers for Commuter Woes; Rail Union Unity Movement Takes Hold Among Rank & File , Officers; Railroad Workers Delegation Tours Cuba, Meets with Counterparts; Railroad Workers Win Victories Against “Driver Only Operations” in the UK; RWU Happenings - New T-shirts and Fundraiser fopr 2018; U.S. Railroaders Get To See Firsthand A Cuban May Day Celebration; We Must Defend Amtrak and Passenger Trains in North America




Highball 2017 Winter: Sleep Apnea a Factor in NJT Wreck; FRA Fails to Finalize Train Crew Staffing Rule; RWU Website Offers Info for Rails; RWU Winter Hats Available; Learning from Fellow rails in Korea, Japan; The Fight to Defend Canadian Rails enters Critical Period; Unite Against Big Business and Stand with Standing Rock; Now that the Election is Over, what is the Way Forward; Drastic Times Call for Labor to Take "Industrial Action"

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Highball 2017 Spring: Proposed National "Right-to-Work" Legislation Threatens Rails Too; Blueprint Budget Would decimate Amtrak and Transit; RWU Annual Report Available; RWU Launches First Fundraising Drive;  RR Workers Memorial Day Join National Day of Action; Railroad Labor Negotiations "Day of Action" Planned; Korean Workers Lead the Way - Depose the President; A Little Lac Megantic in Ecery Rail Incident Since 2013; RR Workers have the moral and Ethical Right to Resists; RR Workers and our Allies Must United in Support of Amtrak

Highball 2017 Summer: Amtrak #188 Engineer Indicted in PA for Manslaughter; An Open Letter to Our Allies in the Fight for Safe Rails & a Sustainable Environment; Business as Usual = Defeat. Resist the Status Quo!; Civil Court Trials Set for Railroad Workers in Canada and the U.S.; Railroad Workers Unite in a Cross-Craft Rally Nationwide; Railroad Workers United to Produce2018 Rail Labor History Calendar; Recent Changes to the RWU Steering Committee (ISC); RWF First Official Fundraiser is a Success but Falls Short of Target; Trackworkers and the “Day of Action” Point the Way Forward for Rail Labor

Highball 2017 Fall: Civil Charges Dropped Against Amtrak #188 Engineer; Cross-Craft Rail Workers Coalition Takes Root in Kansas City; CSX Malaise a Catastrophe for Workers, Shippers, and the Nation; CSX Meltdown a Crisis for Shippers, Passengers, Workers and the General Public;  New Staff Position Created to Support the Work of RWU; No Single Employee Crews Campaign Takes Off on CN former WC Property; Our Lives are at Risk When Stockholders Demand to Get Rich Quick; Rail Crew Van Drivers Rally for Better Wages, Benefits and a Union; Railroad Workers Labor History Calendar for 2018 Now Available!; Rank & File Workers Build Cross-Craft Coalition of All Rails in Kansas City; RWU Builds for Sixth Convention; The Hunter Harrison “Magic” Good for Stockholders, Bad for Everyone Else



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Highball 2016 Winter - Shop Workers Overwhelmingly Vote Down Contract at CSX; If You Care About Railroad Safety You Must Defend Tom Harding; RWU Prepares for Biennial Convention; Lac Megantic Citizens Rally Against Unsafe Trains; "Crude Awakening" Holds Founding Conference in Pittsburgh; A Furloughed Thanksgiving; Fuel Conservation Tech Can Lead to Dangerous Distractions

Highball 2016 Spring - RWU Holds 5th Biennial Convention; FRA Publishes Proposed Rule on Two Person Train Crews; Railroad Workers Memorial Day Scheduled; RWU Special Envoy Reports from Quebec; Canadian Rail Boss Defends Not Using Automatic Brakes to Secure Trains; RWU Organizes Whistleblowers to Fight Back

Highball 2016 Summer -FRA Proposed Rule on Train Crew Staffing Draws Comment; RWU Delegation Attends Whistleblower Meeting in DC; Lac Megantic Update; Why are so Many Rails Furloughed?; Railroaders and the Community Must Seek Common Ground; NTSB Conclusion of Amtrak #188 Wreck is Flawed

Highball 2016 Fall - Canadian Rail Worker Defense Efforts Grow and Develop; RWU Testifies for Two-Person Crews at FRA in DC; RWU Conducts Rail Safety Conference in Chicago; Don't Mourn the Loss of Coal - Organize!; UK train drivers and guards United Against Single Crew Ops; Crew Fatigue: The Elephant in the Room; Railroad workers Charged and on Trial: It Could be any of Us



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Highball 2015 Winter - US National Rail Bargaining Begins in January - RWU Co-sponsors Conferences on the West Coast

Highball 2015 Spring - Railroad Workers Bring Safety Conferences to the People - Improving Track Maintenance is the Key to Oil Train Safety

Highball 2015 Summer - The Wreck of Amtrak #188: Another Needless Tragedy - RWU Rail Safety Conference Scheduled for Chicago

Highball 2015 Fall - California Outlaws Single Employee Train Crews - RWU Plans for Fifth Biennial Convention March 31 - April 1, 2016



Highball 2014 Winter Inward Facing Locomotive Cameras: The Fight Ain’t Over Yet

Highball 2014 Spring: Railroad Workers United conducted our fourth Convention

Highball 2014 Summer : Train & Engineers on WL&E Say No To Conductorless Trains

Highball 2014 Fall: Special Issue: Rank-and-File BNSF Overwhelmingly Reject Tentative One-Person Crew Agreement



Highball 2013 Winter: Up Dispatchers Organize; Commentary: Rails Say "Enough!" to Concessions

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Highball 2013 Spring OSHA Whistleblower Protection Committee Meets, RWU Chapters, Railroad Workers Memorial Day

Highball 2013 Summer: Hazards of Information Overload, Crisis in Rail Union Leadership

Highball 2013 Fall: Quebec Train Disaster, Engineers & Trainmen Strike W&LE



Highball 2012 Winter - Rail Strike Averted; West Coast Ports Shut Down

Highball 2012 Spring - Missed Opportunity for Rail Labor;  Restricted Speed Commentary

Highball 2012 Summer - RWU Holds Third Convention; Elects New Steering Committee

Highball 2012 Fall - Special Supplement: No Single Employee Train Crews



Highball 2011 Spring - RWU Supports Wisconsin Uprising; Train Wreck at Longview, WA

Highball 2011 Summer - Fatigue Commentary; RR Workers Memorial Day Focus on Longview Wreck

Highball 2011 Fall - Rail Labor Poised to Strike; RWU Supports Longshore Workers

Highball 2011 Winter - RR Retirement Campaign Moves in New Direction



Highball 2010 Spring - RWU Holds Second Convention; Sponsors Rail Workers Memorial Day

Highball 2010 Summer - T&E Struggle on the KCS

Highball 2010 FALL- Rail Labor Poised to Strike; RWU Supports Longshore Workers

Highball 2010 Winter- Special Supplement: Union Democracy



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Highball 2009 Spring - RWU Supports Furloughed Rails

Highball 2009 Summer - Special Issue: "Fix the Hazards, Don't Blame the Victims!"

Highball 2009 Fall - Special Issue: Coordinated Bargaining

Highball 2009 Winter - RWU Launches Three National Campaigns



Highball 2008 February- RWU Issues Statement of Principles, Published First Newsletter

Highball 2008 April -BLET Pres Removed, SMART Merger on Hold; RWU schedules Founding Convention

Highball 2008 May-  RWU Convention Adopts Resolutions, Elects Steering Committee

Highball 2008 Fall-  Metrolink Wreck Commentary; RWU Resolutions on Safety and Coordinated Bargaining