Biden Administration Blasts Rail Industry Group for Stalling on Safety

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is calling out the Association of American Railroads, a leading industry trade group representing the nation’s major freight railroads, for continuing to put profits over people and communities.

In a letter to the group, Buttigieg highlights that major freight railroads are blocking meaningful reforms, like the bipartisan, IAM Rail Division-supported Railway Safety Act, despite rising freight accident rates. Freight rail carriers have even laid off workers recently, contributing to already low staffing levels.

TAKE ACTION: Tell your Senators to Pass the Railway Safety Act

“This reputation for being too much focused on short-term profitability is fueled by the fact that the industry is pushing for these workforce cuts and weaker regulations while it is already extremely – some would say ridiculously – profitable,” writes Buttigieg.

The Class I freight carriers are reporting preliminary profits of almost $25.2 billion in 2023, Buttigieg cites.

The IAM Rail Division, IAM International President Brian Bryant and other IAM leaders and allies recently rallied in Los Angeles for passage of the Railway Safety Act, which would mandate vital safety measures, such as:

  • Prohibits railroad carriers from imposing time constraints on rail car and locomotive inspections, providing major work-life improvements for our Carmen and Machinists crafts.

  • Ensures that our highly-skilled and qualified Carmen and Machinists are the ones conducting inspections (such as locomotive and pre-departure railcar inspections), rather than relying on operating crews or other untrained crafts.

“The time for delay and talk is over for the freight rail carriers,” said Josh Hartford, IAM Special Assistant to the International President for the IAM Rail Division. “The Republican members of the Senate who are teaming up with the robber barons of the rail industry to stop the Railway Safety Act must listen to their constituents. IAM Rail Division members, and rail workers across the nation, demand action now.”

TAKE ACTION: Tell your Senators to Pass the Railway Safety Act

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