CSX_logoCSX Corporation announced its fourth quarter and full-year earnings for 2013 Jan. 15. The railroad reported net earnings of $426 million or $0.42 per share for the fourth quarter. These earnings were down from the same quarter in 2012, with earnings of $449 million or $0.44 per share. Earnings dropped $37 million from the third quarter of 2013.

The railroad also reported that revenue for the quarter increased by five percent to $3 billion. The increase was due to merchandise and intermodal markets.

“Supported by the strength of an expanding economy, we delivered six percent volume growth in the quarter, despite another sharp decline in coal,” said Michael J. Ward, who acts as chairman, president and chief executive officer for the company.

Annual net earnings for 2013 came in at $1.83 per share, up from 2012’s $1.79 per share. Revenue increased for the year by two percent to $12 billion, a record for the company. Operating income came in at $3.5 billion and the operating ratio increased to 71.1 percent for the year.

Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability. The lower the operating ratio, the more efficient the railroad.


ns_LogoNorfolk Southern published its fourth quarter and full-year earnings for 2013 January 22. The railroad reports a fourth quarter net income of $513 million or $1.64 per diluted share. Net income was 24 percent higher than recorded earnings for the same quarter 2012. Fourth quarter earnings were also up $31 million over third quarter earnings for the same year.

NS reported that the operating ratio improved five percent to 69.4 percent for the quarter. Operating revenues for the railroad totaled $2.9 billion, up seven percent from the same quarter last year. Income from railway operations was up 23 percent at $881 million.

For the year 2013, operating revenues for the railway reached $11.2 billion, up two percent over 2012. Income from railway operations came in at $3.3 billion for the year, four percent higher than last year. Net income rose nine percent higher than the previous year at $1.9 billion. Diluted earnings per share also saw an improvement of 12 percent at $6.04. Overall, the railway’s operating ratio improved by one percent to 71.0 percent for the year.

“Norfolk Southern’s team of safety and service-oriented employees drove our record-setting fourth quarter results through increased productivity, efficient network operations, and continued revenue gains,” Wick Moorman, NS CEO, said. “In 2014, we plan to invest $2.2 billion, a 12 percent increase over 2013, to maintain safe railway operations, purchase locomotives and freight cars, and support growth and productivity initiatives.


union_pacific_logoUnion Pacific announced their full-year earnings for 2013 as well as their fourth quarter earnings. The company stated that the fourth quarter of 2013 was their best quarter yet with records set.

The railroad reported a net income of $1.2 billion or $2.55 per diluted share for the fourth quarter, a 16 percent increase over last year. Last year’s results for the same quarter were only $1 billion or $2.19 per diluted share.

Operating revenue saw an increase of seven percent to more than $5.6 billion. The same quarter last year only saw an operating revenue of $5.25 billion. Operating income was up 14 percent, totaling $1.97 billion. UP’s operating ratio was a fourth quarter record at 65.0 percent.

“For the first time in six quarters, we reported overall volume growth, despite significantly weaker coal shipments,” said CEO Jack Koraleski. “The fourth quarter wrapped up another tremendous year for Union Pacific, with our overall financial performances exceeding all previous milestones.”

For 2013, UP reported a net income of $4.4 billion or $9.42 diluted share, up from 2012’s reported net income of $3.9 billion or $8.27 per diluted share. Operating revenue saw a record $21.96 billion for the railroad in 2013. Operating income also saw an increase of 10 percent, coming in at more than $7.4 billion. The 2013 operating ratio for the railroad was also a new record, coming in at 66.1 percent.

“As we look at 2014, we see signs that the economy is slowly strengthening. We’re well-positioned for economic growth and are confident in our ability to deliver on our customer’s growing transportation needs,” Koraleski said. “We’ll continue our unrelenting focus on both safety and service to our customers. We strongly believe in the power and potential of the Union Pacific franchise to drive even greater financial performance and shareholder returns in the years to come.”


KCS_rail_logoKansas City Southern Lines reports record fourth quarter revenues and record full-year 2013 revenues. The railroad saw an eight percent increase in revenue to $616 million over the fourth quarter of 2012.

Net income totaled $114 million or $1.03 diluted earnings per share for the quarter, a 12 percent increase over the same quarter last year. They also saw a two percent increase in carloads for the fourth quarter.

KCS’s operating income also saw an increase to $196 million for the quarter, a full 13 percent higher than 2012. Operating ratio came in at 68.1 percent for the railroad. Operating expenses also increased by six percent to $420 million for the quarter.

Full year 2013 revenue came in at a record $2.4 billion, up six percent over 2012. Carloads for the year increased two percent to 2.2 million. Operating income for the year is being reported at $739 million, an increase of 10 percent over 2012. The operating ratio for KCS was 68.8 percent for the year, a 1.1 point improvement over 2012.

“The year 2013 proved to be another very good year for Kansas City Southern,” said President and CEO David L. Starling. “2013 marks the fourth consecutive year KCS has recorded a double-digit percentage increase in its adjusted earnings per share. We expect to maintain our excellent growth momentum in 2014 and beyond.”


cp-logo-240Canadian Pacific Railway, Canada’s second-largest railroad, said fourth-quarter profit more than quintupled. Net income surged to C$82 million ($74 million), or 47 cents a share, from C$15 million, or 8 cents, a year earlier, and earnings per share for 2014 will rise 30 percent or more from last year, CP said. 

Since taking over in June 2012, Harrison has cut jobs and shut rail yards to bolster profit and close the operations gap with larger rival Canadian National Railway, his former employer. CP reported record operating ratio, a costs-to-revenue measure of efficiency, for the last quarter and said it expects more improvement this year. The railroad’s operating ratio improved to a record 65.9 percent in the quarter from 74.8 percent a year earlier, and the company said it’s targeting 65 percent or lower this year. 

“This was a solid quarter, with decent operating numbers,” Jason Sei
dl, a Cowen & Co. analyst in New York who rates the shares market perform, said in a telephone interview. “The guidance is for a minimum of 30 percent growth. This year they did much better than their original guidance, so if they do that again this year, they will be well above the consensus.” 

Canadian Pacific stock shares jumped 4.3 percent to C$165 at the close in Toronto, the biggest single-day increase since Oct. 23. The stock has gained 2.7 percent this year.

The 69-year-old Harrison, who came out of retirement to become Canadian Pacific’s CEO, insisted he still plans to lead the company for another two years before handing the reins to Chief Operating Officer Keith Creel. 


CN_red_logoCanadian National Railway Co. Jan. 30 said its fourth-quarter earnings increased to C$635 ($568 million), or 76 Canadian cents a share, up from C$610 million, or 71 Canadian cents, a year earlier, helped by higher petroleum product volumes and a stronger U.S. dollar. The company also boosted its quarterly cash dividend by 16 percent and reaffirmed its guidance for 2014.

The railroad, based in Montreal, was helped by strong energy markets. Revenue from the transport of petroleum and chemicals jumped 22% in the fourth quarter, while revenues from metals and minerals and forestry products also made double-digit gains. 

Revenue increased 8 percent to C$2.745 billion and operating expenses rose 5 percent to C$967 million. The company’s operating ratio rose to 64.8 percent from 63.6 percent. The operating ratio is the percentage of operating revenue consumed by operating costs, so an increase indicates a decline. 

“Key operating and service metrics remained solid, and we continued to drive incremental improvement in our broad safety record,” Chief Executive Claude Mongeau said in a statement. 

“CN sees good opportunities in 2014 in a number of markets, including intermodal, oil-and-gas-related commodities, Canadian and U.S. grain, and commodities related to the recovery in the U.S. housing market,” Mr. Mongeau said.

CSX_logoCSX Corporation announced Oct. 15 that they had net earnings of $463 million or $.046 per share for the third quarter of 2013. Earnings for the same quarter last year were $455 million or $.44 per share. Earnings are up by $8 million over last year, but down $72 million from the second quarter of this year.

The railroad reported revenues of $3 billion for the third quarter that resulted from higher volumes and pricing gains in merchandise and intermodal. CSX reports an operating income of $854 million and an operating ratio of 71.5 percent.

“CSX now expects full-year 2013 earnings-per-share to be slightly up from 2012 levels. In addition, the company remains on target to achieve its goal of sustaining a high-60s operating ratio by 2015, while remaining focused on attaining a mid-60s operating ratio longer-term,” CSX said.

Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability. The lower the operating ratio, the more efficient the railroad.


union_pacific_logoUnion Pacific reports best-ever quarterly results for the third quarter of 2013. The railroad reported a net income of $1.15 billion or $2.48 per diluted share for the third quarter. Last year’s figures for the same quarter were at $1 billion or $2.19 per diluted share.

Operating revenue for the railroad had a four percent increase to $5.6 billion over last year’s $5.3 billion. Union Pacific recorded an operating ratio of 64.8 percent, a best-ever quarterly record. Operating income totaled $1.96 billion, up 10 percent over last year for the same quarter.

“Union Pacific achieved all-time record financial results this quarter,” said Jack Koraleski, Union Pacific chief executive officer. “Despite the challenges of lower coal and grain volumes, in addition to disruptions caused by the Colorado flooding, we managed our network efficiently and continued to benefit from the strength of our diverse franchise. When combined with real core pricing and productivity gains, we more than offset flat volumes to generate a new, best-ever quarterly Operating Ratio of 64.8 percent.

“As we move through the fourth quarter, we continue to monitor the economic landscape. Supported by our diverse franchise, we remain agile and well positioned for economic recovery,” Koraleski added. “We’ll continue to focus on running a safe, efficient, and reliable network that generates greater value for both our customers and shareholders going forward.”


KCS_rail_logoKansas City Southern reports revenues of $622 million for the third quarter, an increase of eight percent over 2012’s third quarter and a three percent increase in carloads. With only $579 million in revenues for the second quarter of this year, KCS showed a large increase of $43 million from the second quarter to the third.

The railroad reports an operating income up 11 percent at $200 million and an operating ratio of 67.8 percent for the third quarter. Operating ratio improved over 2012 figures by 0.9 points.

Diluted earnings-per-share was up at $1.07 while KCS reported $0.82 for the same quarter last year. Adjusted diluted earnings-per-share showed an increase of 16 percent, coming in at $1.10 for the third quarter of 2013. Diluted earnings-per-share for the third quarter of 2012 were at $0.95.

“Looking ahead, we expect a strong end to the year benefited by growth in export grain shipments. We also look forward to long-term improvement in our operating ratio as we move forward with our plan to increase the percentage of equipment we own versus lease,” David L. Starling said, president and chief executive officer at KCS.


CN_red_logoCanadian National Railway announced a net income of C$724 million or C$1.67 per diluted share for the third quarter of 2013. The railway reported just C$664 million or C$1.52 per diluted share for the same quarter in 2012. CN is up just $7 million over last quarter.

The railroad reports a one-time expense of C$19 million (C$0.05 per diluted share) resulting from an income tax adjustment. Excluding this expense, earnings per share (EPS) saw an increase of 13 percent to C$1.72 from 2012’s EPS of C$1.52.

Revenues saw an eight percent increase to a quarterly record of C$2,698 million, which was driven by a four percent increase in revenue ton-miles, and a three percent increase in car loadings.

Operating income for the railroad also increased 10 percent to C$1,084 million and operating ratio also saw an improvement of 0.8 of a point to 59.8 percent.

“CN’s agenda of Operational and Service Excellence delivered outstanding financial results for the quarter. All our key operating metrics improved, service levels remained solid and we reached new levels of safety in our train operations,” President and Chief Executive Officer Claude Mongeau said. “With continued focus on supply chain collaboration and solid execution, the CN team is determined to grow its business safely and efficiently at a pace faster than the overall economy and to meet its full-year 2013 financial outlook.”


cp-logo-240Canadian Pacific Railway Limited revealed record quarterly earnings at C$324 million (a 45 percent increase) or C$1.84 per diluted share and its lowest operating ratio at 65.9 percent in the history of the company for the third quarter of 2013. Although a record for the third quarter, earnings for the second quarter of 2013 were higher by C$96 million. Adjusted net income, excluding a one-time tax item of C$7 million was C$331 million, an increase of 48 percent.

The company reports adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of C$1.88, a growth of 45 percent over the third quarter of 2012. Total revenues saw an increase of six percent to C$1.5 billion, while operating expenses saw a decrease of six percent down to C$1 billion.

Chief Executive Officer E. Hunter Harrison said, “By all standards, this was an outstanding quarter. The company’s focus on service execution while controlling costs is a testament to our team of dedicated, hardworking railroaders. We enter the fourth quarter with momentum and are well positioned for what I believe will be a record 2013.”


ns_LogoNorfolk Southern publicized its third quarter net income of $482 million, a 20 percent increase over the third quarter of 2012 today. The same quarter last year only saw a net income of $402 million. Net income was also up $17 million over the second quarter of this year.

Diluted earnings per share were at $1.53, up 23 percent over last year’s $1.24. Operating revenues for the railway were at $2.8 billion, five percent higher than the same quarter of 2012. Shipment volumes saw an increase of four percent.

Income garnered from railway operations was $849 million, up 16 percent. Operating ratio improved by three percentage points to 6
9.9 percent.

CEO Wick Moorman said, “Norfolk Southern delivered strong results, led by growth in our chemicals, metals/construction, intermodal, and automotive businesses, combined with ongoing productivity improvements. Even in the face of continuing weakness in the coal markets, our focus on service efficiency and velocity allowed us to provide superior performance for our customers and excellent results for our shareholders.”


eeoc-logoCompany refused to allow employee with disability to return to work after treatment, federal agency charges

ATLANTA – A Norfolk, Va.-based railway company unlawfully discriminated against an employee because of his disability, degenerative disc disorder, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed Sept. 23 in Atlanta.

According to the EEOC’s suit, Norfolk Southern Railway Company violated federal law by not allowing a laborer to return to work after receiving treatment for his disability and being cleared by his treating physician to return to work with no restrictions.

According to the EEOC’s complaint, Norfolk Southern’s medical director disregarded the treating physician’s opinion as to the employee’s ability to work and determined he was medically disqualified from working without ever examining him. Norfolk Southern subsequently terminated the employee.

Disability discrimination violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires employers to not discriminate against employees with disabilities or a record of a disability. In addition, employers who perceive employees as disabled when they are not disabled also violate the ADA. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Norfolk Southern Railway Company, Civil Action No. 1:13-cv-03126) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC is seeking reinstatement, back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for the employee, as well as injunctive relief designed to prevent future discrimination.

“An employer cannot terminate an employee because of a disability, or merely because it perceives that person to be disabled,” said Robert Dawkins, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office. “Here, the employee was ready, willing and able to work, but was fired based on preconceived notions about his abilities. Such conduct violates the ADA.”

Bernice Williams-Kimbrough, district director of the Atlanta office, said, “The EEOC is committed to stopping workplace disability discrimination in Georgia and across the country. Given the size of the employer, this lawsuit could assist in protecting the rights a large number of employees.”

The Atlanta District Office of the EEOC oversees Georgia and parts of South Carolina.

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.


CSX Corporation announced July 16 second quarter net earnings of $535 million or $0.52 per share. For the second quarter of 2012, CSX earned $512 or $0.49 per share. According to these figures, CSX is up a profit of $23 million over last year’s earnings for the same quarter.

CSX attributes these profits to overall revenue growth, service and efficiency results, and other items such as tax and real estate. Revenue for the second quarter 2013 was a total of almost $3.1 billion. CSX was at an operating income of $963 million and an operating ratio of 68.6% for the quarter.

Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability. The lower the operating ratio, the more efficient the railroad.

CSX is up from last quarter, having reported a net income of $459 million or $0.45 per share. Revenue for the first quarter was at $2.96 billion, quite a bit less than this quarter’s reported $3.1 billion.


union_pacific_logoUnion Pacific Corporation announced July 18 that performance for the second quarter 2013 was the best they have ever reported at a net income of $1.1 billion or $2.37 per diluted share, an increase of five percent over last year’s second quarter earnings. Earnings for the same quarter last year were only $1 billion or $2.10 per diluted share.

UP saw an increase of operating revenue to $5.5 billion, while last year’s operating revenue for the same quarter was only $5.2 billion. The freight revenue was also at a five percent increase and their operating ratio of 65.7 percent was the best ever recorded at 1.3 points higher than the second quarter last year; and 0.9 points better than the previous best-ever record which was set in the third quarter of 2012.

Second quarter earnings are also up from the first quarter of this year. UP reported increased revenue of $5.29 billion for the first quarter, a great deal less than this quarter’s reported $5.5 billion.


KCS_rail_logoKansas City Southern (KCS) reported July 19 record revenues as well as record carloads for the second quarter 2013. KCS announced that the second quarter was up six percent over the second quarter 2012 with $579 million in revenues. Carloads saw an increase of three percent over last year as well.

The railroad saw an operating income of $179 million, 12 percent higher than the same quarter of the previous year and an operating ratio of 69.0 percent, a 1.5-point improvement.

Revenue growth for the second quarter was led by a 26 percent increase in Energy, a 20 percent increase in Automotive and a 13 percent increase in Intermodal revenues over last year. Revenues from Chemicals & Petroleum and Industrial & Consumer grew by 11 percent and four percent respectively over last year’s second quarter.

KCS saw a decrease in revenues from Agriculture and Minerals, which decline by 18 percent, due to droughts and a decrease in grain volumes. 


CN_red_logoCanadian National Railway (CN) announced July 22 that profits are up for the second quarter 2013 over the same quarter of 2012. Net income for the second quarter was C$717 million or C$1.69 per diluted share. Net income for the same quarter last year was only C$631 million or C$1.44 per diluted share.

CN reported a net gain of C$13 million that resulted from a gain on a non-monetary transaction with another railway. Excluding this transaction, it’s reported that CN saw an increase of diluted earnings per share (EPS) of 11 percent to C$1.66 for the second quarter. The same quarter last year was at C$1.50.

Revenues saw an increase of five percent to C$2,666 million that was reportedly driven by a five percent increase in revenue ton-miles and a two percent increase in carloadings.

CN reported that operating income increased six percent to C$1,042 million with an operating ratio (defined as operating expenses as a percentage of revenue) improvement of 0.4 of a point to 60.9 percent.

“We executed strongly during the second quarter, with service and operating metrics on a steady improvement trend. This performance underscores our agenda of Operational and Service Excellence, which is key to achieve solid revenue growth at low incremental cost. … Despite slower volume growth than anticipated, the CN team will maintain a keen focus on growing revenues faster than the overall economy as well as on tightly managing costs to meet our full-year financial outlook,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Claude Mongeau. 


ns_LogoNorfolk Southern (NS) announced Tuesday, July 23 an 11 percent decrease in income for the second quarter 2013. Income was at $465 million for the second quarter of 2013 whereas they were at $524 million for the same quarter of 2012.

Diluted earnings per share were at $1.46, nine percent lower than they were in 2012 at $1.60 per diluted share.

The operating revenues for the railroad came in at $2.8 billion, three percent lower than in 2012. However, the operating ratio came in at 70.2 percent, which is four percent higher than the ratio reported for the second quarter of 2012.

Fuel surcharges came in at $306 million, $59 million less than last year’s reported amounts. General merchandise revenues rose to two percent to $1.6 billion. Coal revenues fell 17 percent to $626 million due to lower average revenue per unit and a four percent decline in volumes. NS reported that Intermodal revenues increased four percent to $588 million and volumes increased five percent due to continued domestic and international growth.

“In the second quarter, Norfolk Southern delivered solid results, supported by growth in our chemicals, intermodal, and automotive businesses, despite continuing weakness in the coal markets,” CEO Wick Moorman state. “We continue to focus on service efficiency and velocity, which is enabling us to control operating expenses and deliver superior performance to our customers.”


cp-logo-240Canadian Pacific (CP) reports record highs in operating ratio Wednesday, July 24. The operating ratio came in at 71.9 percent, a 1,060 basis-point improvement and an all-time quarterly record for the railroad.

Operating income came in at C$420 million, an increase over the second quarter of last year by 76 percent.

Total revenues for CP were C$1.5 billion, an increase of ten percent; also a quarterly record. Operating expenses were low at C$1.1 billion, a decrease of four percent. CP reported a net income of C$252 million or C$1.43 per diluted share.

The second quarter of 2012 had a net income of only C$103 million or C$0.60 per share. The second quarter of 2013 had a 138 percent improvement in year-over-year earnings per share. 


A few weeks shy of their respective first quarter earnings announcements East Coast-based Class I railroads Norfolk Southern and CSX are feeling pretty good about their businesses.

Norfolk Southern CEO Wick Moorman stated in the company’s 2012 annual report that the future is promising for the rail carrier, which saw 2012 come in as its second best year ever in its history in terms of revenue at $11 billion, operating income at $3.1 billion, net income at $413 million, and earnings per share at $5.37.

Read the complete article at Logistics Management.


OSHA logo; OSHAWASHINGTON – Norfolk Southern Railway Co. has been ordered to pay $1,121,099 to three workers following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which found that the company violated the whistleblower provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act.

Two investigations, conducted by OSHA staff in Chicago and Pittsburgh, found that three employees were wrongfully fired for reporting workplace injuries. In addition to monetary remedies, the company has been ordered to expunge the disciplinary records of the three whistleblowers, post a notice regarding employees’ whistleblower protection rights under the FRSA and train workers on these rights.

Railroad carriers are subject to the FRSA, which protects employees who report violations of any federal law, rule or regulation relating to railroad safety or security, or who engage in other protected activities.

“The Labor Department continues to find serious whistleblower violations at Norfolk Southern, and we will be steadfast in our defense of a worker’s right to a safe job – including his or her right to report injuries,” said acting Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris. “When workers can’t report safety concerns on the job without fear of retaliation, worker safety and health suffer, which costs working families and businesses alike.” 

One investigation involved a crane operator based in Fort Wayne, Ind., who was removed from service after reporting an eye injury requiring the extraction of a sliver of metal and rust ring from his eye. The injury occurred while he was operating a crane in support of a bridge-building operation in Albany, Ind. The employee was taken out of service and formally terminated on Aug. 24, 2010, after an internal investigation determined he had made false statements concerning the injury.

OSHA’s investigation concluded that the worker would not have been terminated if he had not reported the injury. The agency has ordered the railroad to pay him a total of $437,591.70 in damages, which includes $100,000 in compensatory damages for pain and suffering, $175,000 in punitive damages, and $156,518.94 in back wages and benefits. It also includes compensation of $6,072.76 to the crane operator for penalties incurred when he had to cash in savings bonds prior to their maturity date after being terminated. In addition to damages, the company has been ordered to pay reasonable attorney fees. Further, OSHA has ordered the railroad to reinstate the worker to the proper seniority level, with vacation and sick days that he would otherwise have earned.

OSHA’s second investigation involved a thermite welder and a welder’s helper based in western Pennsylvania. Both employees had worked at the railroad for more than 36 years without incident when they reported injuries sustained as a result of an accident caused by another vehicle that ran a red light and hit a second vehicle, which in turn collided with the company truck in which they were riding.

The employees initially reported minor shoulder area pain plus some stiffness and soreness. Later, when questioned by management, they initially declined medical treatment, but as the pain increased, sought and received treatment at a local hospital. They were then taken out of service pending an investigative hearing and formally terminated. Management concluded that the employees’ reports about their condition were false and conflicting and constituted misconduct.

OSHA’s investigation found that the employees were terminated for reporting injuries to management. The agency has ordered the railroad to pay them $683,508 in damages, including $300,000 in punitive damages; $233,508 in lost wages, benefits and out-of-pocket costs; and $150,000 in compensatory damages for pain and suffering. Interest on back pay due will accrue daily until the employees are paid. In addition to damages, the company has been ordered to pay reasonable attorney fees.

These actions follow several other orders issued by OSHA against Norfolk Southern Railway Co. in the past two years. OSHA’s investigations have found that the company continues to retaliate against employees for reporting work-related injuries, and these actions have effectively created a chilling effect in the railroad industry.

“The Labor Department’s responsibility is to protect all employees, including those in the railroad industry, from retaliation for exercising these basic worker rights,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. Railroad workers must be able to report work-related injuries without fear of retaliation.”

Norfolk Southern Railway Co. is a major transporter/hauler of coal and other commodities, serving every major container port in the eastern United States with connections to western carriers. Its headquarters are in Norfolk, Va., and it employs more than 30,000 union workers worldwide.

Any party to these cases can file an appeal with the Labor Department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges within 30 days of receipt of the findings.

On July 16, 2012, OSHA and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration signed a memorandum of agreement to facilitate coordination and cooperation for enforcing the FRSA’s whistleblower provisions. Between August 2007, when OSHA was assigned responsibility for whistleblower complaints under the FRSA, and September 2012, OSHA received more than 1,200 FRSA whistleblower complaints. The number of whistleblower complaints that OSHA currently receives under the FRSA surpasses the number it receives under any of the other 21 whistleblower protection statutes it enforces except for Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. More than 60 percent of the FRSA complaints filed with OSHA involve an allegation that a railroad worker has been retaliated against for reporting an on-the-job injury.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the FRSA and 21 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health care reform, nuclear, pipeline, worker safety, public transportation agency, maritime and securities laws. Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who raise various protected concerns or provide protected information to the employer or to the government.

Employees who believe that they have been retaliated against for engaging in protected conduct may file a complaint with the secretary of labor to request an investigation by OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program. Detailed information on employee whistleblower rights, including fact sheets, is available at http://www.whistleblowers.gov.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

HURLEY, Va. —  The Norfolk Southern locomotive engineer who suffered a bullet wound in the NS Hurley yard here Sept. 20 reportedly confessed to shooting himself, according to news reports citing the sheriff’s office in Buchanan County, Va.

Hurley is some 100 miles south of Charleston, W.Va.

Engineer Mark Jarrell, 41, of Canada, Ky., suffered a non-life threatening wound to the upper torso around 8:30 p.m., Sept. 20, and was treated at an area hospital.  According to news reports, he initially told sheriff’s deputies he was shot by an unknown assailant as he exited a locomotive, causing sheriff’s deputies, Virginia state police and Norfolk Southern police to search the area most of the night for a gunman. A handgun was found near the scene.

Jarrell now faces a charge of giving false information to a police officer during a criminal investigation. The Buchanan County sheriff was quoted by the Bluefield Daily Telegraph newspaper that Jarell admitted the gunshot wound was self-inflicted and that additional charges could be filed against Jarrell.

OSHA logo; OSHAEven when railroads return workers to their jobs with full back pay after wrongly terminating them for suffering a workplace injury, significant monetary sanctions may still be imposed by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Case in point is Norfolk Southern, which was ordered to pay damages in excess of $580,000 in August after violating the Federal Railroad Safety Act’s worker protections against employer harassment, intimidation, discipline and termination in retaliation for reporting workplace injuries or safety concerns.

Railroads have been hit with millions of dollars in sanctions by OSHA over the past year for such behavior, but this case is significant in that the railroad unsuccessfully claimed it should not be sanctioned because after terminating the worker it reinstated him with full back pay.

The unidentified conductor, who suffered a shoulder injury, had been riding the lead car to protect a shove at NS’s Decatur, Ill., yard when several cars behind him derailed due to poorly maintained rail ties.

NS initially claimed the injury was fabricated, and fired the conductor for allegedly making a false injury report. A public law board subsequently ordered the railroad to rehire the conductor with full back pay – 10 months after the workplace injury — and he continues to work for NS. During those 10 months of unemployment, the conductor endured significant financial distressed.

A UTU designated legal counsel, who brought a complaint before OSHA under the whistleblower provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act, said NS contended there were no damages to be assessed because the conductor had been put back to work with full pay.

OSHA said the NS arguments were baseless and that the railroad should be punished for violating the conductor’s rights under the Federal Railroad Safety Act.

OSHA then ordered NS to pay the conductor – in addition to the back pay already received – more than $580,000 to cover pain and suffering, punitive damages, loss of employer-paid benefits during the period of unemployment, attorney’s fees and additional lost wages plus interest because OSHA said NS had under-calculated the amount of back pay.

NS also was ordered by OSHA to restore the conductor’s seniority level and vacation and sick days credit, and further credit him with 10 months of service toward his Railroad Retirement pension.

OSHA also ordered NS to provide all workers in its Decatur yard with a copy of an OSHA fact sheet on whistleblower protection, to post in the yard a notice explaining worker rights under the Federal Railroad Safety Act, and to expunge from the conductor’s personnel file all records of his termination and OSHA claim.

“This decision sends a powerful message that terminating an employee for an injury creates financial exposure for the railroad far beyond just having to put him back on the job with back pay,” said UTU International President Mike Futhey. “No longer can a railroad simply calculate the worse-case scenario as having only to provide back pay.”

A rail employee who believes he was improperly harassed, intimidated, disciplined or terminated for reporting a workplace injury or safety concern may file a whistle-blower complaint directly with OSHA, or may contact a UTU designated legal counsel, general chairperson or state legislative director for assistance.

A listing of UTU designated legal counsel is available at:


or may be obtained from local or general committee officers or state legislative directors.

To view a more detailed OSHA fact sheet, click on the following link:


OSHA logo; OSHAIn ice hockey, the scoring by one player of three goals is called a “hat trick.” In baseball, a player striking out four times in a single game is said to have earned a “golden sombrero.”

Norfolk Southern’s feat is to have earned from OSHA a still unnamed fifth significant sanction in recent months for violating – through harassment, intimidation and unwarranted discipline — the rights of injured employees or those attempting to report a safety concern.

While other railroads have earned one or more recent rebukes from OSHA, Norfolk Southern seems headed for a gold medal in this dubious category of employee harassment, intimidation and unwarranted discipline.

OSHA says the reason has been the railroad’s single-minded, if not narrow minded, determination to be declared the nation’s safest railroad – albeit through harassing, intimidating and disciplining workers not to report their workplace injuries.

Norfolk Southern denies the allegations and is appealing each of the OSHA actions.

BNSF, which also has been sanctioned numerous times by OSHA for similar violations of the rights of injured and safety-conscious employees, recently took the art of intimidation to a new level by attempting to coerce employee witnesses to its alleged violations to allow a BNSF attorney in the room when questioned by OSHA investigators. BNSF denies its intent is to intimidate those employees from being candid with OSHA investigators.

“Railroad workers throughout this country have the right to report an injury without fear of retaliation,” said Cindy Coe, OSHA’s regional administrator in Atlanta. OSHA, she said, “will continue to protect” rail workers from employer retaliation, and employers found in violation “will be held accountable.”

As reported by the Norfolk, Va., Virginian Pilot newspaper, four of the five OSHA-determined violations were announced within months of Norfolk Southern’s winning the railroad industry’s E.H. Harriman gold medal safety award in May for the 23rd year in a row.

“The Harriman program, in place for nearly 100 years, quietly ended with this year’s awards, though news releases about this year’s winners from Norfolk Southern and the Association of American Railroads did not explicitly state that the program was over,” reported the newspaper. “The industry group did not say why it ended.”

A Norfolk Southern spokesperson told the newspaper there was “no connection” between its OSHA-determined violation of employee rights under federal law and the ending of the Harriman program.

The UTU and other rail labor organizations have long held that the Harriman awards program encouraged carrier supervisors to harass, intimidate and discipline injured and safety-conscious employees in an effort to earn cash bonuses and promotions in conjunction with their railroad’s winning of a Harriman gold, silver or bronze medal.

The award is named after the late railroad baron Edward Henry Harriman who, during the late 19th and early 20th century, held financial control of Union Pacific, Southern Pacific, Illinois Central, Central of Georgia, plus other smaller railroads, a steamship line and Wells Fargo Express.

The UTU documented in 2007 that a Norfolk Southern supervisor posed as a clergyman to enter the hospital room of an injured worker. Once there, according to obtained evidence, he tried to convince the attending physician not to prescribe a particular medication, which would have required reporting the injury to the Federal Railroad Administration and putting the winning of a Harriman gold medal at risk.

The Federal Railroad Safety Act of 1970 extended whistleblower protection to employees who are retaliated against for reporting an injury or illness requiring medical attention. The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 added additional requirements ensuring injured workers receive prompt medical attention.

Their purpose is to protect rail workers from retaliation and threats of retaliation when they report injuries or illness, report that a carrier violated safety laws or regulations, or if the employee refuses to work under certain unsafe conditions or refuses to authorize the use of safety related equipment.

An employer is outright prohibited from disciplining an employee for requesting medical or first-aid treatment, or for following a physician’s orders, a physician’s treatment plan, or medical advice.

Retaliation, including threats of retaliation, is defined as firing or laying off, blacklisting, demoting, denying overtime or promotion, disciplining, denying benefits, failing to rehire, intimidation, reassignment affecting promotion prospects, or reducing pay or hours.

UTU designated legal counsel have pledged to investigate and assist UTU members in bringing complaints under these laws.

A rail employee may file a whistle-blower complaint directly with OSHA, or may contact a UTU designated legal counsel, general chairperson or state legislative director for assistance.

A listing of UTU designated legal counsel is available at:


or may be obtained from local or general committee officers or state legislative directors.

To view a more detailed OSHA fact sheet, click on the following link:



Delivering on the theme of the 2012 regional meetings – “We will not back down” – UTU International President Mike Futhey told more than 1,000 attendees at the Memphis meeting how the UTU is using every tool available – negotiations, legislative and legal — to defend its members’ jobs and workplace safety.

* On the Belt Railway of Chicago, where the carrier is demanding contract changes to permit one person crews at carrier discretion, the UTU has asked the National Mediation Board to declare a bargaining impasse. Belt Railway General Chairperson Chris Votteler’s negotiating team, assisted by International Vice President Delbert Strunk, faces a carrier that refuses to take crew consist changes off the table – three years following start of negotiations — even though the carrier is party to a moratorium on the issue.

“We will take every action necessary to protect our members’ jobs. We will not stand down on crew consist,” Futhey said.

* As to conductor certification — mandated by Congress and put into regulatory language by the Federal Railroad Administration – Norfolk Southern has filed an FRA-required certification plan without discussion and coordination with general chairpersons.

The NS proposed plan seeks to provide a pilot for remedial training only for conductors who have not traveled over a territory for 36 months, rather than the 12 months required in current agreements; and then seeks to place the burden of notification solely on the conductor rather than tracking the time period electronically. Additionally, the NS plan does not discuss procedures it will follow in an investigation even though FRA regulations require railroads to provide all documents and the list of witnesses prior to a hearing.

Futhey said the UTU will not permit “a tortured interpretation” of congressional and FRA intent, and will work to ensure every railroad follows the letter and intent of the law and regulations prior to the required Sept. 1 deadline for certifying conductors.

* In Pennsylvania, Norfolk Southern is attempting to disregard state safety laws and regulations through federal preemption affecting workplace safety at hump yards. “We will take every action necessary to prevent railroads from weakening workplace safety protections, whether at the state or federal level,” Futhey said.

* Pointing to millions of dollars in fines assessed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration against railroads that have harassed, intimidated, disciplined and fired workers for reporting injuries and workplace safety concerns, Futhey reminded members that UTU designated legal counsel is pledged to assist in bringing and pursuing such complaints. Information on filing these complaints is available at the UTU website at www.utu.org by searching “OSHA.”

“We are not going to allow carriers to continue their pattern of harassment and intimidation of workers who are injured on the job,” Futhey said. “The FRA and OSHA recently signed a letter of intent to investigate jointly all complaints of carrier harassment and intimidation, and the FRA has informed each carrier of its intent to work with OSHA to end the long-standing practice of carriers disciplining injured workers “where the facts fail to support the charges. We are lawyered up, too, and will take this to wherever we must to protect the interests of our members.”

* Recalling the horrific murder of a UTU-member bus driver in Los Angeles, the fatal shooting of a train-crew member near New Orleans, and assaults on bus operators and intrusions into locomotive cabs by armed robbers elsewhere, Futhey said the UTU is working with lawmakers and regulators to implement better safeguards for its air, bus and rail members. The FRA recently imposed a requirement that all new and remanufactured locomotive cabs be equipped with secure cab locks.

“I promise every member that the UTU will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our members to ensure their safety. Our voice will be heard,” Futhey said.

As to the state of the union, Futhey said the International’s general fund balance is improving as carriers bring back furloughed workers, that the UTU Insurance Association now has a $28 million surplus and is financially strong, and the Discipline Income Protection Plan (DIPP) is financially sound with more than $10 million in assets.

Futhey emphasized that while competing plans often seek ways to deny payment of claims, the UTU’s DIPP is aggressive in paying claims. Futhey cited an example of two workers on the same assignment on CSX – one covered by the UTU’s DIPP and the other by a competing plan – who were both suspended. “Where the competing plan denied the claim, DIPP paid the claim. End of story.”

As for the UTU’s disability insurance plan covering bus and rail members, Futhey said it has paid out more than $22 million in disability benefits for off-duty injuries and is proving to be a valuable benefit.

As to organizing, Futhey said that since January 2008, when he took office, the UTU has an unprecedented record of organizing one new property every seven weeks. One of the first post-merger coordinations has been the joint strengthening with the Sheet Metal Workers International Association of organizing efforts, which makes greater resources available for organizing transportation, building trades and production workers.

Futhey also explained how the UTU negotiating strategy in national handling has already paid off for rail members covered by the national rail contract.

“When we entered  national rail contract negotiations, our strategy was to hold the monthly cost sharing premium under $200 — rather than allow it to escalate to $300 or more — in exchange for somewhat higher copays,” Futhey said. “The Affordable Care Act now eliminates many of those copays, saving affected members out-of-pocket for many health care services while those members enjoy one of the lowest cost-sharing premiums in the public and private sectors.”

UTU International President Mike Futhey