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NS to cover shop-craft employees with positive-reinforcing safety policy

Similar to other Class Is, Norfolk Southern Railway is moving away from punitive discipline for minor safety offenses and toward education and training.

The railroad plans Sept. 1 to extend its System Teamwork and Responsibility Training (START) policy, designed to improve safety by addressing rules violations in a positive manner, to all shop-craft employees (about 5,000 workers), according to NS' monthly newsletter released July 23.

The policy would affect employees represented by Brotherhood of Railway Carmen, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, National Conference of Firemen & Oilers, Transportation Workers Union, Sheet Metal Workers International Association, and International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers.

START currently applies to NS' C&S employees represented by United Transportation Union, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, Brotherhood of Railway Signalmen and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

"The START policy was designed to provide positive learning experiences,
training and employee growth opportunities in a cooperative environment, and we are gratified that unions have shown support for the policy," said Harold Mobley, NS assistant vice president of labor relations.

START supports alternative training and education rather than formal hearings for minor and some serious offenses. Local chairmen are involved in determining the appropriate handling of rules violations; a joint labor-management oversight committee ensures the policy's consistency.

"START will improve the handling of discipline for our members, and will provide a positive mechanism for our union representatives and the company's management to work together to resolve issues," said J.V. Waller, Brotherhood of Railway Carmen general chairman.

Note: This news item was corrected 8/26/02. It was previous reported that local chairmen determine how to appropriately handle rules violations.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/23/2002