FRA Spurns Union Request for Emergency Order

The Federal Railroad Administration has rejected a call by two railroad unions asking the agency to issue an emergency order calling for safety protections for railroad employees during the COVID-19 pandemic

“Although FRA believes that many safety precautions included in [the unions’] petitions could constitute best practices that should be applied in the railroad industry, FRA does not believe that an emergency order is justified,” FRA Administrator Ronald Batory wrote in a letter to the unions.

In a news release, the unions accused the FRA of failing “to mandate safety protocols to protect the health of railroad workers during the national COVID-19 outbreak.”

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen along with the SMART Transportation Division has asked the FRA to issue an emergency order specific to employee protections after the agency announced it would temporarily waive some railroad safety rules during the pandemic.

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