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BMWE Letter to Joe Boardman - Amtrak Safety

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Acela150

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Letter from the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees to Boardman concerning Amtrak safety.

https://www.bmwe.org/cms/file/04132016_154402_Boardman_Letter.pdf
Basically, its all your fault when my people do downright stupid things.
The few things that I do agree with in the letter are simple..

The 10 Cardinal Rules.. One can see what they are in the March issue of Amtrak Ink.. No employee should have to be threatened to follow rules with Termination.. I'm honestly surprised that the unions haven't spoken up more.. And from reading them and the "Do you job right or get fired" section of the Amtrak Ink, the unions didn't even get a chance to say "Ok we agree with these but, our members shouldn't have to deal with threats of termination"..

The fact that the unions want management with experience on the railroad.. That is a big thing that Railroaders are huge on these days.. Tom Paul can graduate from Texas A&M and go be a train master with not a single second of any railroad experience... (Texas A&M is the first college, non Ivy League, that came to mind) I hate having some moron who doesn't know a thing about how to run a train telling me how to do my job. Come work on the railroad and you'll agree with me.

The close call reporting.. I know that NS has a Close Call reporting system with no punishment coming to the reporter.. It works on an anonymous system.. And truthfully, I'd rather be reported by one of my Co-Workers for doing something stupid and getting my rear end tore up by a train master then it not be reported at all. We learn from these mistakes...

I can't comment on the training section as I haven't taken part of any Amtrak training with the exception of AMT-2.

But most of the letter I do agree with. Sorry, but many Amtrak T&E employees will as well.
 

Ryan

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jis

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I seriously think that this branch of the discussion deserves a thread of its own since it is about something much broader than the Palmetto incident. However, who knows whether the appropriately empowered deities will deliver or not? :D
 

Ryan

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Quoting seems pointless when you're responding to a post directly above yours, and editing the quote in is a pain in the rear when all you have is access to a phone.
 

jis

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Quoting seems pointless when you're responding to a post directly above yours, and editing the quote in is a pain in the rear when all you have is access to a phone.
However simply editing in the phrase "Responding to xyz above" into the posted message even from a phone would appear to be relatively painless, no?
 

Chey

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The fact that the unions want management with experience on the railroad.. That is a big thing that Railroaders are huge on these days.. Tom Paul can graduate from Texas A&M and go be a train master with not a single second of any railroad experience... (Texas A&M is the first college, non Ivy League, that came to mind) I hate having some moron who doesn't know a thing about how to run a train telling me how to do my job. Come work on the railroad and you'll agree with me.
Yeah, the BNSF guys here are ticked off about that too. Management is very impressed with college degrees but that has not worked out well as far as train master skills go.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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Yeah, the BNSF guys here are ticked off about that too. Management is very impressed with college degrees but that has not worked out well as far as train master skills go.
The same can be said about most craft jobs. My employer had a policy not to hire truck drivers for any office position that control trucks. (Planners and Dispatchers) Training-Safety was the only position that could be worked by a CDL holder. They are a starter company, 22 years olds holding the their first post college / post Starbucks job.

My current Breakdown contact last job was in a dental office. She is becoming very good. Steep learning curve however.
 

NE933

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The letter calls for several in top management to leave. I think we should add Joe B. to the this list, as in, ask him to move up his retirement date.
 

Acela150

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The fact that the unions want management with experience on the railroad.. That is a big thing that Railroaders are huge on these days.. Tom Paul can graduate from Texas A&M and go be a train master with not a single second of any railroad experience... (Texas A&M is the first college, non Ivy League, that came to mind) I hate having some moron who doesn't know a thing about how to run a train telling me how to do my job. Come work on the railroad and you'll agree with me.
Yeah, the BNSF guys here are ticked off about that too. Management is very impressed with college degrees but that has not worked out well as far as train master skills go.
All the college Non RR experienced Train Masters want to do is Banner someone in a real bad spot and make sure the crew runs through it.. It's a joke. Now at NS they make any Train Manager go through the 3 week Conductor Training.. Even if they were in T&E before hand. But that still doesn't do the job any justice.

The letter calls for several in top management to leave. I think we should add Joe B. to the this list, as in, ask him to move up his retirement date.
In talking with another AU member Off Forum on Facebook we do agree on this. I think that Joe hasn't helped the matter any. Talking to a friend who is an engineer with in the NEC he has mentioned to me that Employee Morale is very low and that Train Masters are really "out for blood".

Now IMO when you have a combination of low Employee Morale, Bosses "out for blood", as well as pressure from the derailment from last May, it doesn't look good for Amtrak and employees are bound to make a more critical mistake. That's just my opinion from 1 year of T&E service.
 

MARC Rider

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Yeah, the BNSF guys here are ticked off about that too. Management is very impressed with college degrees but that has not worked out well as far as train master skills go.
The same can be said about most craft jobs. My employer had a policy not to hire truck drivers for any office position that control trucks. (Planners and Dispatchers) Training-Safety was the only position that could be worked by a CDL holder. They are a starter company, 22 years olds holding the their first post college / post Starbucks job.
My current Breakdown contact last job was in a dental office. She is becoming very good. Steep learning curve however.
It's not just "craft jobs," and its not just the railroad industry. I see corporations and government agencies promoting mangers who have little relevant experience in what they manage concentrating the authority to get things done into a relatively small group of micromanagers. And then they wonder why things don't get done. Or don't get done right.

Can't wait until I can retire.
 

Thirdrail7

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I do believe this is an industry issue. The brain drain was predicted years ago and unfortunately, it has yielded the perfect storm: A rush to cut costs resulting in the hiring of inexperienced personnel with degrees but no practical experience who may "know the language" but are unfamiliar with the "dialect." However, they are moldable. Then, they attempt to "teach" with costs in mind. Luck and time has been on the side of railroads since until recently, they have had enough experienced workers to run interference. However, they are gone and the "not quite ready for prime time players" are now front and center and unfortunately, they have improperly trained another group of employees....and so on...and so on.

The seed has germinated...and spread.
 
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