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Rail industry to defend right to keep convicted contractor employees off railroad property, AAR says


The rail industry will adopt a better appeals process for contractor employees who believe they have been wrongly excluded from working on rail property. However, railroads will defend their right to “keep contractor employees with recent felony convictions away from railroad property,” Association of American Railroads (AAR) officials said.

“For more than a decade, railroads have required background checks of our own employees who have access to our property,” said AAR President and Chief Executive Officer Edward Hamberger in a prepared statement. “And we have extended that same requirement to contractor employees who have access to the same property.”

The U.S. departments of Homeland Security and Transportation had recommended that railroads establish background check procedures for contractor employees who access rail infrastructure.

“This industry has made a commitment to the federal government that we will voluntarily comply with those recommendations,” said Hamberger.

Several major railroads recently teamed with background investigation firm eVerifile to create “e-RailSafe,” an industry-wide safety and security initiative. The program identifies contractor employees who have had a felony conviction within the past seven years or were released from jail for serving a felony conviction within the past five years. Railroads review the criminal records of the “flagged” employees and notify the contractor about which individuals should be denied access to rail property, the AAR said.

Now, railroads plan to adopt a series of new policies that will make it easier for contractor employees with recent felony convictions to appeal any decision that prohibits them from working on rail property, Hamberger said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/20/2007