SMART-TD maintains support of current NS leadership

April 26, 2024

The SMART Transportation Division, as the nation’s largest freight railroad union, reasserts its support of Alan Shaw and the leadership at Norfolk Southern.

CEO Alan Shaw and his management team have focused on creating a resilient carrier. They have made a conscious effort to diverge from the operating ratio-obsessed mentality that has degraded rail service and safety since 2017, and have made safety, employees and customers their priority.

The vast majority of rail labor, including SMART-TD and the coalition Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, recognizes this effort. The recent announcements by the BMWED and BLET unions that they are willing to roll the dice with a group wanting to re-implement an operating mode that contributed to a national supply-chain crisis and puts safety and employee well-being at risk is puzzling.

Under present leadership, NS is cooperating with the National Transportation Safety Board in a thorough safety review. This comes after the carrier became the first Class I to commit to the Confidential Close Call Reporting System (C3RS). Shaw and NS also became the first Class I to reach paid-sick leave agreements with all bargaining units — an accomplishment that some other Class I carriers operating in the U.S. still haven’t achieved.

Shaw and the current leadership team have taken solid, tangible steps to establish a safety culture that values the contribution of our union members and officers, while also improving Norfolk Southern’s operations at the same time. The challengers seeking to take over the carrier have provided flimsy rhetoric to try to sway shareholders and that has swayed the BMWED and the BLET. At the same time, Shaw and his team continue to work to create results for labor, management and customers.

We have supported Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw and his team since the activist shareholders announced their intent. As the nation’s biggest freight rail union, we continue to do so and we will not waver.

Read a release by the 11-union group including SMART pledging support for the NS leadership.