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Date: 11/07/19 09:37
Denver: worker shortage leads to service cancellations
Author: Dcmcrider

Apparently working conditions like "mandated" overtime are not a huge hit among the rank and file. The agency blames low unemployment for its failure to retain workers. In August, nearly 300 light-rail runs were blanked due to labor shortages.

https://www.denverpost.com/2019/10/22/rtd-driver-shortage-bus-rail/

Paul Wilson
Arlington, VA



Date: 11/07/19 09:41
Re: Denver: worker shortage leads to service cancellations
Author: cabsignaldrop

Similar situation in transit around the country. At many transit agencies, runs don't get out and trains are understaffed or canceled due to lack of employees. If you can't get folks to work for 70 to 100k a year, imagine how difficult it is for warehouses, retail and fast food places to recruit and retain talent.

Posted from Android



Date: 11/07/19 09:45
Re: Denver: worker shortage leads to service cancellations
Author: Dcmcrider

The RTD board is also mulling "temporary" service cuts.

Paul Wilson
Arlington, VA



Date: 11/07/19 10:52
Re: Denver: worker shortage leads to service cancellations
Author: PHall

Vancouver, BC currently has a transit "strike" going on right now.
Bus drivers are not wearing their uniforms and nobody is working any overtime. Which has been a major problem on the maintenance side because management had decided it was cheaper to depend on overtime then to hire additional bodies and now they're paying for it.

 



Date: 11/07/19 11:23
Re: Denver: worker shortage leads to service cancellations
Author: trainjunkie

I don't want this to get too political, even though passenger trains are almost entirely political in nature, but I've been kind of hoping this would eventually happen. I say this because after over a half century on this planet, I realized the most prosperous times in my life have been when the economy was booming and labor was a sellers market. I hope this labor shortage transit agencies are now seeing is a product of the current administration's dedication to ramping up the economy and reducing joblessness. I don't need my union to buy the support of politicians if the economy is booming, the labor market is tight, and I have skills that businesses want. It then becomes my game, not theirs. 

As an employee of a Class 1, I know the carriers are about to wage war on labor and, in the end, they probably want a stalemate so it will go to arbitration where corporate-friendly judges appointed by the current administration are likely to side with the carriers, and not labor. They have already served Section 6 notices with their wish list for the forthcoming national agreement and it does not look pretty. So the only hope we have is either Federal legislation requiring minimum crew size (doubtful it will ever happen with the current administration and Batory's stance on this), or a tight enough labor market with business booming enough that we'll have enough leverage to essentially force the carriers to cave in just to keep trains moving and cash flowing. 

I honestly don't know how much of the current transit labor issue is a product of the Trump administration's progress with the economy and reduction in unemployment, but I'd like to think it will be a continuing trend, which will tighten the labor market further, giving skilled labor a leg up at the negotiating table. I can tell you with certainty, that when labor is plentiful, it comes cheaply and workers have almost no power in the negotiation. So hopefully, the converse will be true. Time will tell.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/07/19 12:45 by trainjunkie.



Date: 11/07/19 11:43
Re: Denver: worker shortage leads to service cancellations
Author: Lackawanna484

The new Secretary of Labor has a long record as a union buster, per the AFL-CIO. One expertise is decertifying labor unions.

Not the guy you want on your side in an industry side struggle.

Posted from Android



Date: 11/07/19 12:16
Re: Denver: worker shortage leads to service cancellations
Author: trainjunkie

I'm not too concerned with union decertification. In fact, I hope the latest ruling puts the unions on notice and gets some of them to get their 'stuff' together. I see no reason why employees who are dissatisfied with their representation can't decert their union and join another. They should be allowed to do that, as long as they don't fall for all the right-to-work nonsense that just drives wages and benefits down. But again, a booming economy and a competitive job market takes care of this issue all by itself for the most part if companies have to compete for skilled labor.

IMHO, labor unions should work harder than they do to satisfy the needs of their members, especially railroad unions. The carriers run circles around them. It's time that they are put on notice. I remind everyone of this debacle in 2014 when UTU General Committee 001 threw its members under the bus with that secretly negotiated crappy contract that eliminated conductors on BNSF through freight at the carrier's discretion. Thankfully the members saw right through it but here we go all over again. What will SMART TD and BLE-T do this time?

https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?1,3468154,page=1



Date: 11/07/19 12:21
Re: Denver: worker shortage leads to service cancellations
Author: texchief1

With one man crews, will the engineer have to stop to copy a form A?  I guess they can send a form A over a computer from the dispatcher.  What about when the engineer needs to go to the bathroom?
I see two man crews help keep each other awake on the long pool runs, but PTC shouold take care of that.  This will be interesting to see who wins this battle.

Randy Lundgren
Elgin, TX
 



Date: 11/07/19 12:35
Re: Denver: worker shortage leads to service cancellations
Author: trainjunkie

The carriers will claim to have a technology solution to every current issue. But the reality is that the carriers have an abysmal record of deploying properly vetted, thoroughly developed, and properly tested technology when it's used to replace labor. They always make hasty decisions and deploy half-baked tech because they know that once it's out there, they will never have to replace it with people. It happened with two-way radios, line-side defect detectors, end-of-train devices, RCO, distributed power, and now PTC.

But this time, with the level of sophistication that will be required, and the stakes in play with the "last man standing", the unions are going to really have to make it clear that this is premature and dangerous to the public and should be shelved until such a time that the technology actually exists and is proven to be an effective and safe replacement for that person. The stakes will be even higher if the railroads are allowed to start moving LNG in DOT 113 tank cars. Until then it's all theoretical and we are all going to be part of a giant, dangerous experiment if allowed to go forward.



Date: 11/07/19 14:38
Re: Denver: worker shortage leads to service cancellations
Author: bluesboyst

trainjunkie Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The carriers will claim to have a technology
> solution to every current issue. But the reality
> is that the carriers have an abysmal record of
> deploying properly vetted, thoroughly developed,
> and properly tested technology when it's used to
> replace labor. They always make hasty decisions
> and deploy half-baked tech because they know that
> once it's out there, they will never have to
> replace it with people. It happened with two-way
> radios, line-side defect detectors, end-of-train
> devices, RCO, distributed power, and now PTC.
>
> But this time, with the level of sophistication
> that will be required, and the stakes in play with
> the "last man standing", the unions are going to
> really have to make it clear that this is
> premature and dangerous to the public and should
> be shelved until such a time that the technology
> actually exists and is proven to be an effective
> and safe replacement for that person. The stakes
> will be even higher if the railroads are allowed
> to start moving LNG in DOT 113 tank cars. Until
> then it's all theoretical and we are all going to
> be part of a giant, dangerous experiment if
> allowed to go forward.

Yup tested technology.. Like Boeing 737 Max software or Google driverless car that killed someone in Arizona last year because..Oops we did not have the J-Walker software on....



Date: 11/07/19 15:48
Re: Denver: worker shortage leads to service cancellations
Author: brc600

Even the airlies have retained the co-pilot. A few times a yesr, I read an article/report about one pilot being incapacitated and the other bringing the plane in. Rail unions should use this as a bargaining leverage. Plus, one man crews will block crossings longer delaying emergency vehicles and traffic. The MM&A fiasco also should be used.

trainjunkie Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The carriers will claim to have a technology
> solution to every current issue. But the reality
> is that the carriers have an abysmal record of
> deploying properly vetted, thoroughly developed,
> and properly tested technology when it's used to
> replace labor. They always make hasty decisions
> and deploy half-baked tech because they know that
> once it's out there, they will never have to
> replace it with people. It happened with two-way
> radios, line-side defect detectors, end-of-train
> devices, RCO, distributed power, and now PTC.
>
> But this time, with the level of sophistication
> that will be required, and the stakes in play with
> the "last man standing", the unions are going to
> really have to make it clear that this is
> premature and dangerous to the public and should
> be shelved until such a time that the technology
> actually exists and is proven to be an effective
> and safe replacement for that person. The stakes
> will be even higher if the railroads are allowed
> to start moving LNG in DOT 113 tank cars. Until
> then it's all theoretical and we are all going to
> be part of a giant, dangerous experiment if
> allowed to go forward.



Date: 11/07/19 16:02
Re: Denver: worker shortage leads to service cancellations
Author: brc600

As an employee of a Class 1, I know the carriers are about to wage war on labor and, in the end, they probably want a stalemate so it will go to arbitration where corporate-friendly judges appointed by the current administration are likely to side with the carriers, and not labor.

From Nebraska US Senator Deb Fisher's website:


Under President Trump, we have reached a new milestone in what is already an impressive record for confirming judicial nominees. As of today, one in every four judges on the federal courts of appeals was nominated by President Trump and confirmed by the Senate. One of these judges is a Nebraskan. Steve Grasz was confirmed to the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals.



Date: 11/07/19 16:18
Re: Denver: worker shortage leads to service cancellations
Author: abyler

cabsignaldrop Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Similar situation in transit around the country.
> At many transit agencies, runs don't get out and
> trains are understaffed or canceled due to lack of
> employees. If you can't get folks to work for 70
> to 100k a year, imagine how difficult it is for
> warehouses, retail and fast food places to recruit
> and retain talent.

Imagine trying to fund drug free talent in the land of legal pot.



Date: 11/07/19 16:20
Re: Denver: worker shortage leads to service cancellations
Author: goneon66

i have a hard time believing there is any lack of interest in mass transit driver positions (bus/rail) in this country.  these positions pay well and have good retirements. 

i don't have a hard time believing a LOT of interested applicants "melt the cup" in the drug test or fail civil service written/oral exams...........

66



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/07/19 16:22 by goneon66.



Date: 11/07/19 16:25
Re: Denver: worker shortage leads to service cancellations
Author: joemvcnj

NJT's engineer recruitment completions are not even keeping up with retirements. There has not been much let-up in daily train cancellations. Reason being the overwhelming majority of applicants fail drug tests. 



Date: 11/07/19 16:44
Re: Denver: worker shortage leads to service cancellations
Author: trainjunkie

brc600 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Even the airlies have retained the co-pilot. A few
> times a yesr, I read an article/report about one
> pilot being incapacitated and the other bringing
> the plane in. Rail unions should use this as a
> bargaining leverage. Plus, one man crews will
> block crossings longer delaying emergency vehicles
> and traffic. The MM&A fiasco also should be used.

All a bunch of hot air from the carrier's POV.

1. Incapacitated engineer
Let's face it, the carriers don't give a crap about their employees. This goes back a 150 years and it isn't about to change now. The carriers will come up with some new tech they claim will address this. Here Mr. engineer, you will wear a heart rate monitor whenever you are in the seat from now on (or something like that). Worse case, they will claim the alerter and PTC will stop a train if the operator is incapacitated. Never mind whether he/she gets help or not. Minor detail that will be glossed over.

2. Blocking crossings due to mechanical failure
Again, the carriers will claim to have a bulletproof plan to address this. It will be a bunch of lies, but enough to convince regulators that they are sincere and "on top of it". They'll paint a picture of a "rapid responder" (aka, "master conductor") who is fully equipped and dispatched in a shiny new Hy-Rail truck with everything on board he could possibly need to assist a disabled train. The carriers will claim these new craft employees will be highly trained, rules qualified, and have in-depth mechanical training. The carriers will also claim they will have many of these "rapid responders" stationed strategically in short intervals across the system ready at a moment's notice to assist any nearby disabled train.

Of course, the reality will be this. These employees will likely (eventually) be contractors. Much like the contractors many of the railroads currenly retain, they will be low skill workers with poor training and little knowledge of the rules. These will be the people who replace certified conductors some day. The carriers will either provide beat-up vehicles with multiple mechanical defects, or the contractor will once this job is contracted out to a third party (much like crew transport is done now by companies like Hallcon/Renzenberger). Even in the beginning though, the carriers will try to station as few of these "rapid responders" across the system as possible. What's the point of doing this if there are a lot of them across the system? They will run them as lean as they can, they will be ill-equipped, and overworked, and with all the expanding urban areas many railroads traverse, they will spend hours in traffic trying to get from one emergency to the next, often stuck in a traffic jam created by the very train they are supposed to be assisting.

3. Disaster on the MM&A repeating itself
Inconsequential. That was the fault of the engineer, remember? Never mind the poor safety culture the MM&A created and the pressure on employees to look the other way to get trains over the road, even with massive mechanical issues. The carriers will claim this problem to be solved through regulatory oversight and improved training. We already have to brief with the dispatcher when securing a Key train that will be left unattended. See, they are doing something. Problem solved. 

Bottom line is this. The carriers have a long history of half-assing plans in order to achieve their goal of eliminating labor. They will present one thing to regulators, then do something else. It'll be just like it was when they eliminated most brakemen then promised to have utility employees in the terminals to assist road crews with yarding and doubling outbound trains together. Never happened in most locations. Then they wonder why they can't get trains out of the yard, or have to hold them out until everyone else in the yard is done and out of the way.

Same thing with ETD/EOTs. The carriers claimed there was no safety risk by using these to replace cabooses, and the men who manned the rear of the train. One can’t help but be reminded of the poor crew on the ill-fated Santa Fe H-BALT1-31 that descended Cajon Pass in the early morning hours of February 1, 1996 with a “high tech” replacement for the caboose in the form of a haphazardly attached end-of-train device which was allowed to depart Barstow without the two-way feature being armed. When a brake pipe blockage occurred near the head-end of the train and they were unable to control their downhill speed or initiate an emergency application from the rear end, the train became a run-away down the pass, derailing on a curve at milepost 60.4 killing two crewman and seriously injuring the other. Two dead and one career ended because the carriers convinced everyone that “the EOT is the caboose of the future”. Rest in peace Brothers.

Don't even get me started on RCO. Many RCO incidents are conveniently swept under the rug so the carriers don't have to admit how screwed up and dangerous the technology is. You should see the contortions they go through whenever they need to make an RCO-related accident "go away".

They are a bunch of liars who will do anything to eliminate labor, as they have done for decades. Our unions really to pull their heads out of their rears this time if they plan to really fight this. So far, their track records say otherwise.



Date: 11/07/19 16:47
Re: Denver: worker shortage leads to service cancellations
Author: trainjunkie

goneon66 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> i have a hard time believing there is any lack of
> interest in mass transit driver positions
> (bus/rail) in this country.  these positions pay
> well and have good retirements. 

Article said $20/hour starting pay. Not that great in a competitive job market for all the hours and responsbilities involved IMHO.



Date: 11/07/19 20:05
Re: Denver: worker shortage leads to service cancellations
Author: PHall

brc600 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Even the airlies have retained the co-pilot. A few
> times a yesr, I read an article/report about one
> pilot being incapacitated and the other bringing
> the plane in. 

The two pilot requirement is only there for airplanes that can carry more then 10 passengers.
You get out there in the boonies where you're flying on a single engine Cessna 208 Caravan you will most likely only have 1 pilot up front.
You may get 2 pilots if the weather is crap but those small operations usually need to cut costs as much as they can.
 



Date: 11/07/19 20:40
Re: Denver: worker shortage leads to service cancellations
Author: SP4360

A new addition to PTC equipment in the cab will be a Cattle Prod located in the seat cushion.

texchief1 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> I see two man crews help keep each other awake on
> the long pool runs, but PTC shouold take care of
> that.  This will be interesting to see who wins
> this battle.
>
> Randy Lundgren
> Elgin, TX
>  



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/07/19 20:41 by SP4360.



Date: 11/08/19 04:05
Re: Denver: worker shortage leads to service cancellations
Author: choodude

trainjunkie Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> goneon66 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > i have a hard time believing there is any lack of  interest in mass transit driver positions (bus/rail) in this country.  these positions pay well and have good retirements. 
>
> Article said $20/hour starting pay. Not that great in a competitive job market for all the hours and responsbilities involved IMHO.

There was this guy Adam Smith writing in the 1700's that said if you needed something that was in short supply the solution was to pay more for it.

Brian



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