Former Arkansas State Legislative Director Donald R. Beavers, who served multiple terms leading the state’s legislative board spanning 21 years, passed away May 19, 2024, at the age of 81.

Donald Beavers served multiple terms as the Arkansas state legislative director.

Beavers began his railroading career as a brakeman with the Missouri Pacific in 1962. He was later promoted to conductor.

He served in that capacity for more than 17 years before being elected to the office of the United Transportation Union’s Arkansas legislative director.

A member of Local 656 in North Little Rock, he noted that he was the UTU’s youngest legislative director at the time of his election and retired as the senior member in 2000.

Brother Beavers was honored with a well-attended ceremony for his decades of service to the union upon his retirement in October 2000, receiving recognition from both union leadership and then-President Bill Clinton.

His engagement in labor matters extended beyond our union. Brother Beavers also was elected secretary/treasurer of the state AFL-CIO, appointed to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and served as chairman of the North Little Rock Civil Service Commission.  

He was past president of the Arkansas Association of Lobbyists and active in politics representing Arkansas as National Democratic Committeeman.

He served as a delegate to six Democratic National Conventions and a proud Arkansas Traveler for Clinton, having been connected to the president since Clinton’s start in state politics in the 1970s.

Brother Beavers is survived by his wife of 57 years, Mary Frances, two sons and four grandchildren.

The SMART Transportation Division expresses its condolences to Brother Beavers’ family, friends, his union brothers and sisters and all who knew him.

In a move that carrier officials said was in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, Norfolk Southern has idled the hump yard at Linwood Terminal in North Carolina, costing more than 80 people their jobs.
NS told Trains Magazine May 1 that the “unforeseeable business circumstances” caused by the coronavirus will result in 85 jobs lost this month at the site, which has been open since 1979.
Norfolk Southern announced first-quarter revenue of $2.6 billion and net income of $381 million on April 29. The carrier said it took a $385 million loss during the quarter as it sold off approximately 300 locomotives and is in the process of selling 400 more as part of its Precision Scheduled Railroading plan.
“We are taking hard looks at our yard and terminal network, testing what we can live without,” Chief Operating Officer Mike Wheeler said during the carrier’s first-quarter earnings call.
Read the article from Trains Magazine (registration may be required).
Union Pacific also has curtailed operations at an engine shop in North Little Rock, Ark., for reasons identical to those cited by NS, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported, also on May 1.
Workers at the Jenks Locomotive Facility began to be notified on April 30 of worker furloughs. Carrier representatives declined to disclose an exact number of employees affected to the newspaper but said the carrier would re-evaluate operations in a couple of weeks.
Approximately 1,100 people work at the facility, the newspaper reported.
UP reported $1.5 billion in net income for the first quarter during its earnings call April 23.
Read the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s report.
Earnings data for the majority of Class I freight carriers will be published on the TD website next week.