Stansbury Leads Bill To Protect Railroad Workers
Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury is leading The Rail Worker and Community Safety Actthat seeks to address the underlying causes of train derailments across the country.
Some of the provisions included in the act is a mandate of a two-person crew and all-encompassing changes to how, when and where hazardous materials can be moved in order to ensure their safe transport and that first responders have the information they need when responding to a derailment.
Stansbury says the act would also include paid sick leave for rail workers that became a major source of contention last year.
“Last year when we were on the precipice of a shutdown of our rail lines this issue of paid sick leave was the key issue that was so important for our rail workers,” she said. “Especially right now as we’re standing with the United Auto Workers who are striking for better pay, better benefits. It’s really crucial that we continue to fight for our rail workers. I am so proud to be able to introduce this legislation with Rep. (Jamaal) Bowman (D-NY) who is my primary co-sponsor and the entire labor caucus.”
In the past year, the nation has witnessed over 1,000 train derailments, including the catastrophic derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.
The act would mandate the creation of a reporting structure for close call incidents, similar to how airlines report close calls, so problems are resolved before derailments happen. It increases funding for rail safety inspectors to help keep workers and communities safe and address key retention issues. It also mandates regulations regarding the use of wayside detection technologies, which are currently not regulated by the federal government.