Monday, Sept. 4, marked Labor Day in the United States and our members were out making their presence known in celebration of the work we do while raising awareness about the work that still needs to be done in this country to raise the profile of the working class and organized labor.

California — Local 23 — Santa Cruz

Bus Department Alt. Vice President James Sandoval, left, and other members of his Local 23 in Santa Cruz, Calif., take part in a Labor Day event.


SMART Transportation Division President Jeremy Ferguson and Alt. National Legislative Director Jared Cassity were in Galesburg, Ill., and continued the tradition of a TD presence in the the nation’s longest-running Labor Day parade.


Our members participated in a Labor Day parade in Omaha, complete with the traditional appearance of the SMART-TD-branded mini-locomotive.


SMART-TD’s Nevada State Legislative Board had a presence at the Reno LaborFest.


Members from TD Locals 2, 1529 and 1816 walked in the Toledo annual Labor Day parade with Sheet Metal members from SMART Local 33.


SMART Transportation Division had a presence at the Labor Day parade in Roanoke, Va.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak has issued a proclamation praising America’s railroaders, declaring Wednesday, April 28, 2021, as “A Day In Honor of Railroad Workers.”
A portion of the proclamation reads: “The safe and efficient movement of the trains transporting… freight and… passengers through Nevada is due foremost to the dedication and professionalism of those employees who are directly involved in train movements, including Train and Crew Dispatchers, Maintenance of Way personnel, Signal Maintainers, Mechanical personnel, and train crews.”
The SMART Transportation Division Nevada Legislative Board and BLET Nevada State Legislative Board worked jointly to lobby Gov. Sisolak regarding the proclamation. The two boards issued a joint statement, which reads in part:
“Every day, front-line railroad workers report for duty as required and perform the tasks of their jobs in a manner which ensures that the movement of freight and passengers by rail which is needed to keep this nation’s economy functioning is accomplished. In spite of various objectives and circumstances which create hurdles to be crossed in providing this vital service, the work which you do continues to deliver for those counting on it… On this special day, we salute and thank you for the work that you do, while encouraging you to stay focused on safety in the course of your work. We also ask that you join us in remembering those workers who have passed on before us, some in the line of duty, while committing to continue fighting for all still among us with whom we share struggles.”
SMART-TD President Jeremy R. Ferguson and BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce said, “Our unions thank Governor Sisolak for honoring railroaders with this proclamation and for recognizing the important role SMART-TD and BLET members play in keeping our economy strong. We also thank Jason Doering, SMART-TD Nevada State Legislative Director, and Matt Parker, BLET Nevada State Legislative Board Chairman, for their efforts in helping to secure this proclamation and for their dedication to railroad safety.”
A copy of Governor Sisolak’s proclamation can be found here (PDF).

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The SMART Transportation Division is comprised of approximately 125,000 active and retired members of the former United Transportation Union, who work in a variety of crafts in the transportation industry.
The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen represents nearly 58,000 professional locomotive engineers and trainmen throughout the United States. The BLET is the founding member of the Rail Conference, International Brotherhood of Teamsters.


Nevada State Legislative Director Jason Doering and his BLET counterpart Matthew Parker explain why two-person crews are necessary in an op-ed on the website of The Nevada Independent.
In the article, Doering and Parker refute some of the carriers’ most common arguments as to why two-person crews should not be legislated. They specifically mention a letter in support from Larry Mann, who helped to draft the Federal Railroad Safety Act of 1970 and is SMART TD’s rail safety coordinator to the designated legal counsel.
“‘The FRSA has been in existence since 1970, and no court has ever ruled that collective bargaining agreements or any rights under the Railway Labor Act preempted a safety law,’ Mann wrote. … Mann pointed out that Wisconsin enacted two-person crew legislation in 1997 and had the law challenged by four rail carriers. The law was upheld in 1999 by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.”
The Assembly Growth and Infrastructure committee recently voted on April 11 to send Assembly Bill 337, the state’s two-person crew bill, to the Assembly floor and recommended that it be passed as amended.
Click here to read the rest of the article from The Nevada Independent.

Nevada Senate Bill 427 (S.B. 427), sponsored by Nevada State Senator Mark Manendo (D – Dist. 21), seeks to restore a requirement in Nevada’s laws regarding the minimum number of persons operating freight trains in the state.
The bill comes in response to interest expressed by freight railroad carriers nationwide in reducing the current crew size for most cross-country freight trains from two persons to a single operator. Railroad workers oppose such action, citing what they see as a compromise in safety with regard to further crew size reductions.
“In an incident such as a derailment resulting in the release of hazardous materials, the elimination of a crew member from freight trains would cause delay in notification to emergency responders. That creates an unacceptable risk to the public,” said SMART TD Nevada State Legislative Director Jason Doering.
“The desire to pursue single-person operations of freight trains clearly represents placing cost reduction and profits ahead of responsibility for ensuring that movement of freight by rail through the communities of Nevada takes place in the safest possible manner,” added Matt Parker, chairman of the Nevada state legislative board of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET).
Nevada law previously specified a minimum crew size for freight trains in the state. The crew size requirement in that law was repealed in 1985 to accommodate changes to collective bargaining agreements negotiated between rail carriers and the labor unions representing their transportation craft employees.
“Had we foreseen the day that rail carriers would seek single-operator crews, we most certainly would not have supported repeal of Nevada’s previous crew consist requirements, instead insisting upon a modification to the law,” said retired UTU Nevada State Legislative Director Rodney Nelms, who participated in the 1985 legislative action.
S.B. 427 passed the Senate Committee on Transportation with a 3-2 vote. You can find the bill here:
A special thanks goes out from Doering to Sen. Manendo for sponsoring S.B. 427. Doering asks that members contact their Nevada state senators and ask them to support S.B. 427. Members can contact their state senators directly by visiting the Nevada State Senate website.

Yucca Mountain

President Trump is requesting $120 million in his 2018 budget to restart the licensing process to store nuclear waste under Nevada’s Yucca Mountain. This could also mean a revival for a proposed rail line to the remote site.
The project was first proposed in the 1980s but Nevadans on both sides of the aisle have been disapproving of the project.
Click here to read more from