Congressman Eric Burlison, 7th Congressional District in Missouri, is trying to overturn our long-sought and hard-won two-person crew rule. In April, he introduced legislation trying to overturn FRA’s ruling. He is officially AGAINST US.

Let your congressperson know you will be watching to see if they care to protect their constituents. Let them know they should stand with us. They should reject House Joint Resolution 130, which looks to toss out the 2PC rule we have fought for decades to earn.

Railroads financed Burlison’s campaign

SMART-TD’s National Legislative Department looked at Burlison’s current congressional campaign’s financial records. The AAR (American Railroads), ASLRRA, UP, BNSF, CSX and NS, plus short-line operators Genesee & Wyoming and Herzog have all given to his campaign to be re-elected later this year.

These railroads didn’t have to court Burlison all that much to convince him to help them fight against our unions. Politically, Burlison has been working against unions long before he was in the United States House of Representatives.

Burlison: A longtime foe of worker protections

In 2021, Rep. Burlison was a Missouri state senator. One of his bills, SB 118, was a right to work (for less) bill for the “Show Me” state. On his state website, there was a headline of “Sen. Eric Burlison Continues Right-to-Work Fight.” This article went on to say, “JEFFERSON CITY — State Sen. Eric Burlison, R-Battlefield, presented Senate Bill 118, which establishes right-to-work provisions in Missouri, to the Senate General Laws Committee on Feb. 23. The legislation bars employers from requiring union membership of employees and paying dues or other charges as a condition of employment.”

Speaking of his time in the Missouri Legislature, a quote on his website says “Right-to-work has always been an important issue to myself and my constituents.”

His attempt to end 2PC is a part of Burlison’s larger war against labor.

His short resolution deserves a large response

He is a first-term congressperson, only two years removed from the state Legislature. He is just good enough at his job to write a six-line piece of legislation against rail labor and rail safety with two co-sponsors, which, if we stand up, has zero chance of being signed into law.

Burlison’s press release on his joint resolution featured quotes from Ian Jefferies, president and CEO of the big railroads’ lobbying group, and Chuck Baker, president of the short lines’ lobbying group. It’s not a coincidence. For someone determined to fight railroad labor, they’re going to be on the top of the contact list.

Burlison cites flawed research

From his press release: “The only entity this (2PC Ruling) benefits is unions, not consumers or owners of these small businesses.” Burlison also said that an unnamed study was done in 2015 and found no safety difference “whether there is one qualified person or two qualified persons manning a train.” We think he’s referring to the Oliver Wyman crew size “study” that the industry bought and paid for about a decade ago. Of course, everyone benefits from safer trains with full, and fully rested crews. Railroads are not small businesses.

Pave the way for the Railway Safety Act

With your help, Burlison and his co-sponsors, Reps. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) and Randy Weber (R-Texas), will find out that SMART-TD’s members are the true industry experts on railroad safety, now and in November when they face re-election.

With the Railroad Safety Act of 2023 gaining momentum in the U.S. Senate, it could be sent to the House of Representatives this summer. It’s important our message be heard loud and clear to pave the way for the law that will protect 2PC, no matter what happens this November.

Invenies quid valeam

Help us set the tone here and now. If we can’t band together and defend our hard-fought victory on two-person crews, they will have no reason to listen to us when we are pushing for shorter trains, more-regulated use of defect detectors, and the other aspects of the RSA that will keep us out of harm’s way.