Press Release

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Press Release – The Future of Railroads Conference

Chicago, Illinois        September 19th, 2015

 

Subject: Railroad workers organization to sponsor conference on rail safety for labor, community

For Immediate Release: August 24th, 2015

For more information: National Office: Ron Kaminkow secretary@railroadworkersunited.org 608-358-5771 AND Chicago: Mark Burrows potashpuller55@gmail.com 773-486-7001

Conference: “Railroads Safety: Workers, Community & the Environment”

On Saturday, September 19th, the cross-craft solidarity group Railroad Workers United (RWU) will sponsor a conference on rail safety. RWU is partnering with other labor, citizens and environmental groups to organize this innovative and cutting edge conference, entitled “Railroads Safety, Workers, Community and the Environment.” The Chicago conference is a follow up to two earlier conferences held in March of this year in Richmond, CA and Olympia, WA. All interested parties concerned about the safety and the future of railroads are invited to attend.

In the past two years, public attention has focused on the railroad in a way not seen for decades. In the wake of Lac Megantic and other train derailments, resulting fires and explosions, the public is alarmed about the movement of trains through their communities. Environmental activists are up-in-arms about the amount of fossil fuels moving by rail. Farmers and other shippers are concerned about the recent oil train congestion. All this attention gives railroad workers an invaluable opportunity to educate the public about the railroad, its inherent efficiencies and value to society, its great potential, and also the challenging situation that railroad workers face on the job every day.

The public has little idea what railroads are all about. These conferences will shed light on worker issues such as crew fatigue, single employee train crews, excessively long and heavy trains, short staffing, limited time off work and more. These are safety concerns not just for railroaders, but for society in general. Non-railroaders in attendance at the conference will come away with a deeper understanding and a greater appreciation of the issues facing rail and railroad workers. Railroaders will gain insight into the environmental movement and learn how to forge alliances with public citizens. And all participants will come away with a better understanding of how all of us can work together to build a safer, greener and more just railroad that meets the needs of current and future generations.

Tentative workshops and discussion topics at the conference include:

  • Single employee train crews and the hazards they pose for workers, communities and the environment.
  • Excessively long and heavy trains and their inherent problems and dangers.
  • Crew fatigue and “task overload” and the need for well-rested, well-trained, alert and safe train crews.
  • Building worker-to-worker alliances along the supply chain of all transport workers and communities.
  • Chicagoland citizen efforts to deal with the dangers and hazards of trains moving through their community.
  • A history of worker-community-environmental alliances and how to build one around the railroad industry.

The conference is planned for Saturday, September 19th at the United Electrical (UE) Union Hall at 37 South Ashland Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60607. Registration Fee is $20.00 and includes a healthy lunch. For those interested, a banquet at a nearby restaurant will follow in the evening. Scholarships are available. For more information and/or to register, check the official conference website at www.railroadconference.org; and the RWU website at www.railroadworkersunited.org.

 

 

 

Press Release – The Future of Railroads Conference

Richmond, CA (March 14, 2015) and Olympia, WA (March 21, 2015)

 

Subject: Citizens’ groups and railroad workers to co-sponsor conferences on America’s railroads.

For Immediate Release: February 2nd, 2015

For more information:

Pacific Northwest contact: Jen Wallis   206-755-9705   wallisjeanette@gmail.com

Bay Area contact: Gifford Hartman   415-410-9299   giffordhartman@gmail.com

Conference: “The Future of Railroads: Safety, Workers, Community and the Environment”

This winter, the cross-craft solidarity group Railroad Workers United (RWU) together with environmental organization Backbone Campaign will co-sponsor two conferences, one in the Bay Area and the other in the Pacific Northwest. The two organizations are partnering with other labor, citizens and environmental groups to organize these innovative and cutting edge conferences, entitled “The Future of Railroads: Safety, Workers, Community and the Environment.” All interested parties concerned about the safety and the future of railroads are invited to attend.

In recent months, public attention has focused on the railroad in a way not seen for decades. In the wake of Lac Megantic and other train derailments, resulting fires and explosions, the public is alarmed about the movement of trains through their communities. Environmental activists are up-in-arms about the amount of fossil fuels moving by rail. Farmers and other shippers are concerned about the oil train congestion that has occurred this past year. All this attention gives railroad workers an invaluable opportunity to educate the public about the railroad, its inherent efficiencies and value to society, its great potential, and the situation that railroad workers face on the job every day.

The public has little idea what railroads are all about. These conferences will shed light on worker issues such as crew fatigue, single employee train crews, excessively long and heavy trains, short staffing, limited time off work and more. These are safety concerns not just for railroaders, but for society in general. The conference will also consider a more sustainable future for the railroad, one based on increased freight and passenger traffic moving at higher speeds, utilizing electricity generated by wind and solar power. Non-railroaders in attendance at the conference will come away with a deeper understanding and a greater appreciation of the issues facing rail and railroad workers. Railroaders will gain insight into the environmental movement and learn how to forge alliances with public citizens. All participants will come away with a better understanding of how all of us can work together to build a safer, greener and more just railroad that meets the needs of current and future generations.

Tentative workshops and discussion topics at both conferences include but are not limited to:

  • Single employee train crews and the hazards they pose for workers, communities and the environment.
  • Excessively long and heavy trains and their inherent problems and dangers.
  • Crew fatigue and “task overload” and the need for well-rested, well-trained, alert and safe train crews.
  • The “Solutionary Rail” campaign and a vision for what a sustainable railroad of the future could look like.
  • Building worker-to-worker alliances along the supply chain of all transport workers and communities.
  • “Railroading for the General Public 101”.
  • “Environmental Politics for Railroad Workers 101”.
  • A history of worker-community-environmental alliances and how to build one around the railroad industry.

The conferences are planned for March 14th in the Bay Area at the Richmond Recreation Center, 3230 Macdonald Avenue in Richmond, CA 94804; and March 21st in the Pacific Northwest at The Longhouse Education and Cultural Center, 2700 Evergreen Parkway NW, Olympia, WA 98505. Registration Fee is $30.00. Scholarships are available. For more information, check the official conference website at www.railroadconference.org; the RWU website at www.railroadworkersunited.org; the Backbone Campaign website at www.backbonecampaign.com; and the Solutionary Rail website at www.solutionaryrail.org/. You can “Like Us” on Facebook.

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