CDC guidelines state that employers should do the following to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  1. reduce transmission among employees,
  2. maintain healthy business operations, and
  3. maintain a healthy work environment.

As transportation workers are considered to be essential workers, even in a time of national emergency, making them exempt from stay-at-home orders issued by local, state and federal officials, it is paramount that these guidelines be followed so that the health of workers, co-workers, their families and the general public is not jeopardized by employers’ failure to follow CDC protocols.
If CDC measures are not being followed, workers are encouraged to report what they consider to be violations of CDC protocols.
Your union needs reports of what is actually happening in the field. If you are aware of an employee who has tested positive with coronavirus, or if a carrier is refusing to provide a clean and sanitized workplace as well as supplies for sanitation, please let us know by using this form.
Submissions via this form will go to union leadership and be used as evidence to support emergency measures sought by the SMART Transportation Division in petitions to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Your identity will remain anonymous.

Private sector and public sector union membership fell sharply in 2010, reports The New York Times.

In the domestic private workforce, the percentage of workers represented by unions tumbled to 6.9 percent (from 7.2 percent in 2009), while in the public sector, the percentage dropped to 36.2 percent (from 37.4 percent in 2009), reports the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Private sector union employment is at its lowest point in more than a century, says the BLS.

Total union membership — combined private and public sector — is now at its lowest point in 70 years, or 11.9 percent of the total work force (down from 12.3 percent in 2009), says the BLS.

The good news, reports The New York Times, is that the median weekly earnings for union members is now $917, or $200 more than the median weekly earnings for non-union members. The median separates the highest 50 percent from the lowest 50 percent, meaning half of union workers earn more than $917 weekly and half less than $917 weekly.

States with the highest unionization rate (public and private sectors) are Alaska, Hawaii and New York; the lowest rates being in Arkansas, Georgia and North Carolina, says the BLS.

By Assistant President Arty Martin

For more than 40 years, the UTU has been instrumental in improving job security, wages, benefits and safe working conditions.

To achieve that success, the UTU has always relied on the membership to step forward to rebuild elected officers’ ranks — from the local through the UTU International president.

Every aspect of our society — from neighborhood associations, local school boards, Congress and the White House — relies on the same process to ensure our society continues to thrive, grow and be successful. We can neither forget this nor let “the rebuild from within” concept die, or we will lose control of our futures.

When President John F. Kennedy took his oath of office in 1961 — at age 43, succeeding 70-year-old Dwight Eisenhower — Kennedy noted, “The torch has been passed to a new generation.”

JFK and his new generation of leaders were prepared to lead because of mentoring they received early in their careers.

Each of today’s UTU leaders has a moral obligation to identify and mentor talented younger members, beginning with assisting them in running for local office. Not all will be successful. But this is the process by which we identify those who, in the future, will lead general committees, state legislative boards and the UTU International.

I’m not suggesting older leaders head for the exits. I’m among the oldest, and I assure you I have no intention of departing anytime soon. But depart I will at some date, and my duty — and the duty of our other higher ranking UTU officers — is to identify and mentor qualified successors.

Each of our UTU International officers can trace their rise to the day they took an oath of office at their local —  and each can name a mentor who helped bring them along. Representing our brothers and sisters can be some of the hardest work we perform — and certainly the most rewarding when we realize our efforts help to improve wages, benefits, job security and safe working conditions.

Successful officers at the local level demonstrate early whether they have the internal compass and fortitude to do right by their members, whether it is taking on an inexperienced trainmaster with an outsized ego or processing a difficult grievance against an aggressive carrier officer.

The future of the UTU — and more important, the future job and financial security of our members — rests with a seamless process that assures members continue to receive excellent representation when new officers succeed those who retire or move up in the organization.

Because new technology is evolving so quickly, special new challenges await tomorrow’s leaders. Most of us began our careers when a caboose trailed every train and computers were something we read about in Mechanix Illustrated. Tomorrow’s railroads and tomorrow’s buses will be chock-a-block with computer technology tied to orbiting satellites.

I urge each of our senior officers at the International, general committees and state legislative boards to ramp-up the process of identifying and mentoring younger members with potential to become successful officers. The future of the UTU depends on it.