217.370.8505 cory@bletislb.org

After Norfolk Southern’s toxic train derailment in East Palestine, the nation’s freight railroads promised to join in the Confidential Close Call Reporting System (C3RS). This was seen as a major victory for rail safety. But five months later, they haven’t kept their promise.

An investigative report published on August 11 by the New York Times exposes how freight railroads publicly say one thing but are quietly lobbying to change and weaken C3RS before they agree to join it. BLET Vice President & National Legislative Representative Vince Verna, who was quoted in the Times’story, explains why:

C3RS allows workers to anonymously report safety problems at work, but the freight railroads “do not want to relinquish their ability to discipline their employees who report something if they think there’s a rule that has been violated,” Vice President Verna said. “They want to be able to retain the ability to discipline.”

Vice President Verna told the Times’ readers that from the perspective of workers, maintaining anonymity is critical for the program’s success. If railroad employees have reason to fear punishment for reporting safety violations, they will not use the program, he said.