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Thread: Railworker issues, lay them out for us.

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by JediGuy View Post
    Maybe at this point I should say that I am not uncaring about rail workers’ plights. My younger sister’s boyfriend fell between two couplers and had his pelvis turned to mush. It’s rough, and I respect anyone who does hard work and works hard.

    But I wonder if part of the issue with recruiting and retention isn’t that the job is horrible for the pay. Perhaps the world has just become accustomed to easier work for more pay.

    I bet $500 I could get some African acquaintances to move here and kill it at those jobs with a grateful attitude.
    That’s a reflection on American culture overall more than simply rail workers. By a bad company culture just makes things worse.
    You’re not alone in thinking that. There’s a lot of soft men walking around our country thinking they’re hard men.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coal Dragger View Post
    I am halfway to retirement, it’s a bit late in the race to change horses and fortunately for me I have some seniority. Getting vacations and paid leave days approved is easier with seniority. Seniority determines who gets days off or vacation approved, if two guys out in for the same day the senior guy gets it. In two more years I will pick up my 4th week of vacation, and a couple of more paid leave days.

    The harsh attendance policies hurt the young guys and gals the most, and they’re the ones the RR’s desperately need to attract and retain. I was once in their shoes, and try to look out for their interests too.

    If you enjoy things like electricity, fuel, food, and other necessities that are hauled via rail you too need and want strong staffing and operational resilience at the nations RR’s. Right now a lot of our supply chain problems and some inflation can be laid right at the doorstep of management at the big class 1’s. Go read up on customer complaints about the state of the industry, or watch the most recent STB hearings.

    We have major problems and management is intentionally ignoring their obligations as a common carrier in the interests of maximizing profit. Keep in mind most of the physical property at one point was pretty much given to what are now these big RR’s by the US government with the understanding that they had to maintain service standards. They’re now abusing that gift granted by prior generations, and screwing over customers and employees to pump up their stock prices and profits in the near term.

    What concerns me, and should concern everyone is the long term consequences of short sighted management decisions they have greatly harmed the workforce, equipment, and plant of the nation’s freight RR’s. There is no resilience left in the system as it currently stands. We can’t even handle mild growth in traffic to support an economic recovery and ease supply chain issues. Now imagine we had a real emergency where the country needed the ability to rapidly ramp up the ability to move massive amounts of material via rail. Not too long ago we could have done it, but not anymore. Not even close.

    That should scare the hell out of everyone.
    Your owner queered the Keystone pipeline deals so he could keep more of the transport market on the rails. Now he has a problem because he’s running too lean, and he wants to spread out the risk. I’m disinclined to care about his problems, and you should be too. There’s a million ways to express that the breaking point has been reached. Time to get creative.

    As for not being able to move critical supplies, I’m over it. What we don’t get we’ll either find something else or do without. One benefit of the supply chain shortage is people are reevaluating their spending priorities. At some point we’ll either figure out how to do things differently, or return to the earth. Nature abhors a vacuum and whatnot.

    Don’t mistake this for me being heartless though. I do have empathy with you. I’m in a position where I’d literally trade some money for more time off, just because I’m also in one of those jobs where you’re never truly “off duty”. I could’ve stayed in that lower income bracket where my worries ended when I punched out, but I chose my own prison. You’re in a business that’s been deemed “too big to fail”. So you’ve got that going for you, which most Americans don’t.
    What if this whole crusade's a charade?
    And behind it all there's a price to be paid
    For the blood which we dine
    Justified in the name of the holy and the divine…

  3. #33
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    RR Management when told they’re too big to fail:

    “Hold my beer…”

  4. #34
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    Well isn’t this thread just great. I am currently applying for RR jobs because I’m at a professional crossroads and want a change. I’m done working to the Gov and I don’t want to go back overseas or to the oil/gas field. Coal and Pacific who do y’all work for? Got an interview with NS this week and BNSF is throwing decent hiring bonuses but it’s a 3 year commitment.

  5. #35
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    BNSF.

    I can’t tell you it’s a good idea at this time though. We’ll see what pans out of the contractual obligation that the RR’s are going to have to negotiate actual rest days for unassigned service. I don’t expect much because the details are left up to on property agreements and most likely arbitration since BNSF will try to push to have one assigned day off per 3 month period or something similarly ridiculous.

    What locations are you looking at?

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by CRAMBONE View Post
    Well isn’t this thread just great. I am currently applying for RR jobs because I’m at a professional crossroads and want a change. I’m done working to the Gov and I don’t want to go back overseas or to the oil/gas field. Coal and Pacific who do y’all work for? Got an interview with NS this week and BNSF is throwing decent hiring bonuses but it’s a 3 year commitment.
    I’m with Big Orange. Many of our students have turned down the bonus because of the strings attached.
    Being tied to one terminal for three years when you have no seniority is not the best idea. As for our students they have hired it looks like somewhere between 1/2 and 2/3’s have quit in training or shortly afterwords. The current days off issue is horrible for newer people because they really can only take 2-3 days off a month depending on how you do it. They have no PLD or Vacation time to use outside of that. Also because of the issues the RR’s have caused we are working “on our rest” every day (remember 24/7, all week) and that’s a hard way to start a new career.

    For those that have been questioning us actual Rails I’ll throw this out there. I’m on my third start. Worked Saturday at 0300, off at 1330. Went to the hotel and called out at 0045 right on my rest. I slept like shit cause I’m fighting a horrible chest cold right now. Got home at 1330 yesterday and was able to book 14 hours off. Called this morning for 0335. Slept a bit better but still feel like dog shit. Can’t take time off though cause I have to save my points for Christmas. I did get to see my kids though for Few hours a yesterday after I dealt with tire issues on my car and 4runner in the 20 degree weather for a hour cause I won’t have any time off next week to deal with that probably. I say I was luck to see my kids cause there are many times during the week I get home before they wake up and sleep all day and get called before they get home from school. Luckily it works for us but a lot of rails have marriage issues.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by JediGuy View Post
    Basically, the schedules you describe are better than most truckload drivers and equivalent to many LTL drivers, particularly newer drivers. I’m not unsympathetic. But railroads got in bed with the .gov over a century ago, as did then the worker unions. This is the price that is paid for demanding more back then. Super essential. Can’t shut down.

    What is average pay for different level RR employees? Typically, market demands that a poor quality but needed job will have fewer applicants and demand higher pay to get what is needed.
    Something isn’t working right here. My guess is that pay is higher than most have been willing to let go (walk away), so operations are not affected enough to actually consider improvements. Enough people walk away, things will change. Some trucking companies have figured this out.
    Since the beginning of this discussion both in the news & here on the Forum...I have thought the same thing...this sounds like an OTR trucking job, and not even as bad as that. Im absolutely sympathetic to the problem yall face, and the goverment is gonna **** it up just like they do & have the trucking industry.
    And I also agree with the unions being in bed with the government, especially the dems...and you get what you pay for with those fvckers.
    Came off the road in '07 after working damn near 100 hours a week. To HELL with what the DOT rules were..you cant abide by those and make any sort of a decent check. NOW/TODAY could be different because pay & bennies have finally went up after being stagnant for decades, but when I started in the early nineties I didnt know anybody "runnin legal".
    And it just came time after 13 years of that shit to say "Ive had enough". Got out of truck in MAY07 & Ill never set foot in another. Yall RR folks may have to do the same...life is too short to work like a damn dog for decades.
    The obedient always think of themselves as virtuous rather than the cowards they really are.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coal Dragger View Post
    RR Management when told they’re too big to fail:

    “Hold my beer…”
    *the ghost of PRR/PC waste of viable organs Stuart Saunders has entered the chat*
    Ye best start believin' in Orwellian Dystopias, mateys... yer LIVIN' in one!
    --after Capt. Hector Barbossa
    Joe Biden is not, nor will he EVER be, my President. Psalms 109:8 and 43:1

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  9. #39
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    I spent 7 months deployed under water in a 300 foot shit tube. When actually pier-side, I spent every 3 days baby sitting a reactor for 24 hours.

    There is nothing the civilian world could throw at me that would make me blink.

    I could stand on my head in a bucket of shit for an extended period, if required.

  10. #40
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    This has been an interesting thread, one of my best friends is a contractor for RR line maintenance and doesn't have to go through these issues, but worked 10+ years with a RR before he moved over to maintenance. He boils it down to the 3 big players; Fed Gov, Railroad Companies, and Unions all looking out for their own interest and not working efficiently for the consumer or the railroad workers. The government made these little monopiles out of the current companies because they forfeited anyone trying to compete with laws that make it overly difficult for new competition and then the RR companies maintain just a basic standard with no push for innovation or doing things more efficiently because they don't have to, and the Unions are worried about the Union and not the working man who actually does the job in the field. He has mentioned that they will go out and renovate new track under federal loans because they need to spend the money, but will leave sketchy track that is in need of repair to show the Federal government that the grants aren't enough to fix the "real issues".

    In my mind this is the problem with big government, it creates big businesses that want to suckle of the tit of bureaucracy, it reminds me of what Ronald Reagan said about facism

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwFvaSZfXNk
    If you have always believed that everyone should play by the same rules and be judged by the same standards, that would have gotten you labeled a radical 60 years ago, a liberal 30 years ago and a racist today. -Thomas Sowell

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