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The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) has asked the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to reject the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority's (SEPTA) request for an extended waiver of safety rules, which the union says would decrease locomotive engineers' rest time.Last month, BLET Division 71 — which represents 200 locomotive engineers at SEPTA — reached an economic agreement with the agency. At the time, the union indicated it would "aggressively pursue" a resolution of critical safety issues with the FRA. SEPTA declined to bargain over safety matters during the most recent round of contract talks, according to a BLET press release.In a letter to the FRA, BLET National President Dennis Pierce said SEPTA has cut "the number of locomotive engineer assignments while simultaneously increasing the number of trains and route miles in the public schedule," according to the release."SEPTA has increased its daily revenue miles, increased the occasions of interrupted sleep for its extra board engineers, decreased its manpower, decreased the number of five day assignments, eliminated the number of extra board employees with two consecutive days off, and had an alarming series of decertification events recently," Pierce wrote.Instead of extending the waiver, the BLET is asking the FRA to conduct a public hearing into the safety matter.
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