The President and CEO of the Association of American Railroads Ian Jeffries must have been joking when he said in his news release on key safety measures today, “Healthy railroads are essential to the U.S. economy, and consistently and reliably safe operations are essential to healthy railroads.”
None of the major railroads have agreed to paid sick leave for the engineers and conductors who operate freight trains. One would think that having healthy and well-rested crews would be important for healthy railroads and public safety.
Not only is there no mention of paid sick leave in the AAR announcement, there is barely a mention of human beings. Certainly not a mention of two-person crews being mandated to operate trains. Not a mention of working with railroad unions to improve workplace safety.
The AAR announcement is very telling. Through their sins of omission the railroads’ lobbyists are telling us loud and clear that the industry disregards the people who work on the rails and that this industry should not be allowed to self-regulate.