Freight Train Safety a Concern for Unions & Bernie Sanders
Railroad union workers will get a little help from Bernie Sanders this weekend. The democratic presidential candidate and US senator is co-sponsoring the Safe Freight Act which would ensure two people work on freight trains.
Sanders is scheduled to speak at a town hall in Keokuk on Sunday. A couple of local unions will hold a rally in the morning, and then go to Sanders' campaign stop.
Wes Ekstedt is the Secretary of Local 445 of the SMART-TD union in Galesburg. The Fight for Two Person Crews began when railroad companies started pushing for one person crews.
"What a lot of people don't realize is this is a safety concern not only for us as there's only one person up in the cab a lot of times going through some pretty vacant areas. And if that person has a health issue, it's not good for them.
Also when we take these hazardous trains through these communities, a second person, one person has to stay in the cab and a second person is able to be a first responder in any event of an accident.
So that would not be possible and would be delayed if we only had one person."
Sunday's Two Person Crew rally will be held at the labor temple in Keokuk at 10:30 am. Then union members plan to attend the Bernie Sanders town hall at Keokuk Middle School at 12:30 pm (RSVP encouraged).