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Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division-IBT (BMWED) President Freddie Simpson is asking all Class I and Conrail chief executive officers to immediately institute testing and tracing of the coronavirus among all their employees.
The measures should include daily temperature testing and the application of other stringent safeguards, union officials said in a press release.
Simpson wrote to the executives earlier this month after four BMWED members died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Hundreds of other employees have been affected by the virus, union officials said.
"The pandemic is not slowing nationally," they said in the press release. "We understand that train service must continue. We remain willing, as always, to work to that goal. But, we will not be sacrificial pawns to railroads who resist implementing screening and tracing procedures that would greatly help control COVID-19 spread."
Simpson's letters to the Class I executives mirror those sent to Amtrak and Metra in late June.
Letters were sent to BNSF Railway Co.'s Carl Ice, CN's JJ Ruest, Canadian Pacific's Keith Creel, CSX's James Foote, Kansas City Southern's Patrick Ottensmeyer, Norfolk Southern Railway's James Squires, Union Pacific Railroad's Lance Fritz and Conrail's Timothy Tierney.