Railroads to renew push for one-man crews in contract talks
OMAHA, Neb. — The biggest U.S. freight railroads appear ready to renew their push to reduce their crews to one person from the current two-man operation used at major railroads now.
Eight U.S. railroads have filed a federal lawsuit against the union that represents rail conductors to force the SMART union to negotiate about crew sizes during the next round of contract talks that starts in November.
The union says the railroads are undermining the bargaining process by turning to courts to force the issue.
The railroads argue they should be allowed to have the discretion to operate trains with reduced crews and possibly move conductors out of locomotives to ground-based jobs.
Major U.S. railroads have been steadily reducing the size of train crews for decades to reduce costs and take advantage of technological advances that they say reduces the need for crew members.