Rail Unions Want Attendance Policies Probe

Two railroad labor unions are seeking a federal inquiry into the attendance policies of Class 1 railroads, Trains magazine reported on its website.

The action stems from a new policy being implemented by BNSF that unions say threatens safety because it could lead to workers having to be on the job when they are tired.

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, and the Transportation Division of SMART have threatened to strike over the work rule changes at BNSF but the carrier went to court in Texas to obtain an injunction against a strike.

The two unions are now taking their case to Labor Secretary Martin Walsh and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg by seeking a federal review of the policies. 

The BNSF plan, known as Hi-Viz, assigns points to workers that they can be lose if they miss work for non-approved reasons.

Workers could be subjected to discipline or dismissal if they lose too many points over a given time period.

The unions contend the policy will force railroaders to accept job assignments even if they are tired.

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