In May, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) withdrew its proposed rulemaking to require two-person crews on freight trains. The agency then went further and stated that all state laws concerning the subject were preempted by the ruling.
In response, SMART TD President John Previsich testified before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials in June at a hearing to address the FRA’s decision. In his statement, Previsich described the decision by the FRA as an abdication of its safety oversight duties.
In July, SMART Transportation Division further responded to the FRA by filing a lawsuit with the U.S. Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit Court, asking the court to overturn FRA’s ruling. According to, the states of Nevada, Illinois, Washington and California have joined in the fight for two-person crews as well. Nevada, Washington and the California Public Utilities Commission filed petitions with the Ninth Circuit court asking them to review FRA’s decision. Illinois joined the fight for two-person crews August 9, when the state’s governor signed a two-person crew bill into law.
At the SMART TD Regional Meeting in July in San Diego, President Previsich reiterated to members that the union would not take this decision lying down.
“There is going to be a big push coming. We are going to reach out to you when the proper time comes and ask for your assistance,” Previsich told attendees.
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U.S. Capitol Building; Capitol Building; Washington D.C.The U.S. Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday against the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and their ruling that workplaces must display posters about union organizing, bargaining and protests.

The law would have insisted that more than six million private employers post a “notification of employee rights.” The one-page poster was to include basic rights protected by Federal Labor Law, including the right to join a union and go on strike. Failure to comply with the rule would have resulted in charges being brought against the employer in an unfair labor practice case.

The three-judge-panel stated that the rule was a violation of employers’ rights to freedom of speech, as the poster did not include any opposing information such as how to decertify a union or avoid paying dues.

The rule was scheduled to go into effect last year but was put on hold due to legal challenges posed by the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Right to Work Legal Defense, National Federation of Independent Business, Education Foundation and other business lobbyists. They challenged that the poster requirement was to promote unionization of the work force.

Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson wrote, The National Labor Relations Act “simply does not authorize the board to impose on an employer a freestanding obligation to educate its employees on the fine points of labor relations law.” Unions and the NLRB itself are free to display posters and do so, Henderson noted.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka came out against the ruling stating, the “D.C. Circuit has once again undermined workers’ rights – this time by striking down a common-sense rule requiring employers to inform workers of their rights under federal labor law. In today’s workplace, employers are required to display posters explaining wage and hour rights, health and safety and discrimination laws, even emergency escape routes. The D.C. Circuit ruling suggests that courts should strike down hundreds of notice requirements…”