Rail unions ask FRA to address coronavirus concerns; Class I execs cancel conference attendance (3/10/2020)


The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and the SMART Transportation Division (SMART-TD) have petitioned the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to take action in response to the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

"We and other rail labor organizations take this issue very seriously, and we have been monitoring it closely," BLET President Dennis Pierce and SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson wrote last week in a letter to FRA Administrator Ronald Batory.

The union leaders urged the FRA to issue guidelines directed at U.S. rail carriers, employees and passengers similar to those issued by other departments within the U.S. Department of Transportation.

"Further, we ask that you provide continual updates to these guidelines, as other departments have done. Please advise of your plans pertaining to this very serious situation," they wrote.

Meanwhile, executives at three Class Is scheduled to address the J.P. Morgan Industrials Conference today in New York City canceled their presentations after planners changed the conference to a virtual event due to concerns over the spread of coronavirus.

Norfolk Southern Corp., CN and Union Pacific Railroad announced yesterday that their executives would not be presenting at this year's conference.

Source: Progressive Railroading Daily News