|ONLINE VERSION||VOLUME 106 - NUMBER 12 - DECEMBER 1997|
|Labor Protests Conrail Carve-Up|
|As part of the grassroots effort coordinated by the AFL-CIO
Transportation Trades Department (TTD) to educate and mobilize union members, shippers and
communities about the negative implications of the plan to carve-up Conrail, two rallies
were held recently.
At the rallies, rail union activists distributed a flyer with a clear message: "Don't Get Caught in the Middle! Destroying Conrail is Bad for our Community."
On October 9 protesters marched and rallied for three hours in Roanoke, Virginia. On October 15, labor and their supporters rallied on the Ohio Statehouse Capitol steps in Columbus prior to attending a hearing on the Conrail sale.
After the hearing, the 122nd General Assembly of Ohio passed a resolution urging the Congress of the United States and the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to deny the sale of Conrail to CSX and Norfolk Southern.
Transportation labor, under the leadership of the TTD, has been calling on the Administration, members of Congress, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Labor and other government agencies to become fully involved in safeguarding workers, communities and businesses from the severe consequences of the Conrail carve-up.
With comments due on October 21 at the STB, TTD called on the agency to reject the break-up of Conrail because it will destroy jobs, wipe out workers' agreement rights and jeopardize safety and service.
According to an Associated Press report on October 31, 1997, CSX and NS, "mindful of safety and service problems in the West are slowing down their plans to take over Conrail." The same report quoted Jolene Molitoris, FRA Administrator, as saying, "this is a crisis for Union Pacific." Further, Ms. Molitoris said that given the problems with Union Pacific, she would scrutinize the Conrail transaction before making a recommendation to the STB next year.
Union Pacific, which consummated its mega-merger with Southern Pacific last year, has had a series of crashes this year. Seven people killed on Union Pacific over the summer finally prompted the FRA to take action.