United States finalizes rule requiring two-person crews on freight trains | Trending Viral hub

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The Biden administration announced on Tuesday that it had completed a new rule That will require the country’s largest freight railroads to maintain their current staff of two crew members per train, resolving a contentious issue between organized labor and industry.

Federal regulations had not previously specified a minimum crew size, but the country’s largest freight railroads typically have two workers on each train, an engineer and a conductor. the industry adoption of efficiency measures Known as precision scheduled rail transportation, it had stoked fears among workers that freight rail companies would move to reduce their crews to one person per train as a way to further reduce costs.

The Federal Railroad Administration proposed requiring two-person crews in 2022, arguing that doing so would improve safety. The issue received increased attention after a Norfolk Southern freight train derailed last year in East Palestine, Ohio, putting the issue of railroad safety in the spotlight. A bipartisan railroad safety bill introduced in Congress in response to the derailment included a requirement for two-person crews, although the legislation has stagnated.

The Norfolk Southern train, which investigators believe derailed due to an overheated wheel bearingIt had three crew members on board: an engineer, a driver and a trainee driver.

“Common sense tells us that large freight trains, some of which can be more than three miles long, must have at least two crew members on board, and there is now federal regulation to ensure that trains have safe personnel,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. he said in a statement. “This rule requiring safe train crew sizes is long overdue and we are proud to implement this change that will make workers, passengers and communities safer.”

In a statement, Edward A. Hall, national president of the Brotherhood of Locomotive and Railroad Engineers, said 11 states already required two-person crews. He called the administration’s action “an important step toward making rail safer in every state, rather than a piecemeal approach.”

The Association of American Railroads, a trade group representing major freight railroads, has long opposed requiring two-person crews, saying the federal government and unions have not provided evidence linking crew size. With safety.

In a statement, the group noted that in 2019, when President Donald J. Trump was in office, the Federal Railroad Administration abandoned a similar effort to require two-person crews, saying it could not justify the safety need for such. ruler.

“FRA is doubling down on baseless and unnecessary regulation that has no proven connection to railroad safety,” said Ian Jefferies, executive director of the Association of American Railroads. “Instead of prioritizing data-driven solutions to build a safer future for rail, FRA is looking to the past and revolutionizing the collective bargaining process.”

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