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Friday, July 10, 2015

ATU International president on "hours of service"

If your employers are seeking to negotiate or impose new rules about the hours of service, be assured that this is their wish to get ahead of the federal government, NOT a directive of any kind from any government source.



During the past week, we have heard from some of our locals about hours-of-service policies being revised at their transit systems, imposing new limits on the hours our members work.  Apparently, the locals have been informed that the new rules, which require a certain number of hours off between shifts, are being driven from the U.S. Department of Transportation. That is not the case.

In April, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), in response to a rail crash in Chicago, recommended to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) that it establish (through the state safety oversight program) scientifically based hours-of-service regulations that set limits on hours of service, provide predictable work and rest schedules, and consider circadian rhythms and human sleep and rest requirements.

FTA, which was provided with authority to issue safety regulations in 2012, is now considering the NTSB’s recommendations. This is a long process that will take months and perhaps years to fully implement. FTA has funding challenges and Congressional mandates with respect to its safety program which require it to prioritize rulemaking activities. Hours of service rules will therefore have to wait until other items get done.

However, the agency is indeed aware of NTSB’s recommendations, and at some point, it could begin a rulemaking process on this issue. During the next few months, we plan to work with our locals to develop a set of principles on hours of service that meet the needs of our members and the riding public so that we will be prepared to communicate our views if and when FTA decides to move forward on this issue.

If your employers are seeking to negotiate or impose new rules about the hours of service, be assured that this is their wish to get ahead of the federal government, NOT a directive of any kind from any government source.



Larry Hanley
International President
Amalgamated Transit Union
5025 Wisconsin Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016
Visit www.atu.org

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