Snakebites, September, 2002


Griever’s Corner

Last month’s hero is this month’s memory. Wally Wilson, long-time Sec.-Treas. of our local has decided to pull the pin. Regular readers may recall the comment made recently about our illustrious Super and his quest for the title of the biggest loser in the “return-to-work-and-pay-‘em” sweepstakes. Well, Wally has helped our buddy toward the goal. As soon as he was put back to work with back pay he started planning his retirement. It took about a month. Have a good retirement, pal, and don’t look back…

Our always dependable correspondents from Texas provide yet another reason for managerial cleansing: Seems an especially well-hated MYO in their back yard, who’s known for bird-dogging crews while wearing Ninja underwear, took things in hand, so to speak, late one evening. After allegedly viewing a video on the relationship between UP management and us bottom feeders, he became so aroused that he had to finally get hold of himself. Suddenly, into the office steps an uninvited guest, who caught our hero, uh, red-handed. In spite of what you’ve heard you don’t die of embarrassment. He still works for Uncle Pete…

Heads Up Dept: October 16th is National Bosses Day, so plan something real nice for yours…

We hear the Shrub Administration is considering digital ID cards for transportation employees inside the US. It’s definitely us, but can you figure out who the hell else is a “transportation employee?” Careful, now. You are about to become an enemy of the state…

Re: the recent ratification vote. I sent an e-mail to the international requesting how many members were eligible to vote on the 2002 Nat’l. Agreement. No answer, of course. But I’ll bet it’s substantially more that the 17,900 odd who voted. Question: WHERE THE HELL WERE THE REST OF YOU??? If you don’t vote, don’t bitch….

Another abandoned crew story: seems to happen in Oregon a lot. Crew went on duty in Eugene and was instructed to relieve another train enroute. They were told to stay in the clear on the second train and died on hours of service in the siding. Harriman left them to rot. Had to beg food and water from passing trains. By the time they were finally relieved they were 27 hours and 50 minutes on duty!!! How long are we going to put up with this crap?…

As always, work safely and look out for each other. Sarge 


UP Product Development Program

(From time to time someone tears a leaf off the conference room tablet….)

What if, somehow, some way, all the camera systems in the yards, existing and proposed, could be linked up, and then you could broadcast them over cable television. You know, like “The Foamer Channel: All UP All the Time”, and what if you could hook them to an "X-Box" type controller, and then you could hook up RCL within the foamer network, (on a pay per view basis, of course) and then you could not only let the foamers see the RR in action, but actually participate in its daily operation, and as an added bonus, for only a small fee, a foamer can run a yard engine too!! What a concept! The only problem is.... What to do with the employees currently holding these jobs?.... hmmm..... Well, given the current situation, I'm sure they'll vote to give all their jobs away soon enough anyway, so it shouldn't be an issue, (Thanks to AG)

Help Find Locomotive UP3726
(This is for real)

Employees are used to seeing the "Most Wanted" Cars List, but the railroad also needs help this week finding locomotive UP3726, which reportedly was last seen at Denver North Yard. Employees with information about UP3726 can call the Lost Car Hot Line: 1-800-323-2424. When calling the hot line, provide specific yard and track location of the locomotive, your name, daytime work phone number and mailing address (street numbers only). To expedite the movement, contact the appropriate NCSC Operations Support Team at one of the following company numbers: 8-216-5415 (Northern Region), 8-216-5250 (Southern Region), 8-216-5350 (Western Region) or 8-216-2126 (Central Region). 
(As always, World-Class Railroading.) 

We Get Letters, Part 1

Well, we have stooped to a new low in Fresno. We have gone from having to ask for crew packs, which were usually given one per crewmember, to having to get them out of the PPE machine. They now come out of the machine like earplugs and your account is charged 1.00 per pack. I still haven't figured out if this should be considered Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) though. Let's think about this shall we? The toilet seat protector is definitely PPE because if you have seen a locomotive toilet lately, well, you know what I mean, and yes, the toilet paper could be considered PPE because it does protect you from Klingons. The paper towels could be considered PPE as some engineers use them instead of gloves going up and down the ladders so they don't get their hands dirty. The moist towelettes and the waterless cleaner are definitely PPE because you just don't know where your hands have been. And lastly the plastic bag is PPE because you need to keep those water bottles off the floor so you don't trip and have a personal injury. Well, looks like I was all wrong about this. All this stuff is PPE, congratulations Mr. Farmer you deserve a promotion. DRO in Roseville sounds about right. Welcome aboard! 


Quote of the Month

“Ever notice how the people who tell you to calm down are the ones that pissed you off in the first place?” Uncle Bob

Amtrak News from the Great Northwest

November 7, 2002 will mark a year since Dave Grimmer passed away and was laid to rest. Will anyone remember that? Well you can bet management won’t. Dave was prosecuted by the Inspector General for stealing time. Dave openly admitted what he had done because he had so many problems dealing with the payroll department. Anyone who is in the T & E craft knows the hassles that abound with payroll. 

If they had paid Dave according to the make whole agreement he would have never had to claim more time then he did. He should have always been paid as if he arrived on time because the job was bulletined for that. But payroll screwed up. He might have owed them $87.00 but they probably owed him more than that. 

Of course, with the departure of G. Warrington from Amtrak, 200 million dollars is unaccounted for. Is the Inspector General talking to him? Others have recently been prosecuted for the same offense. Spokane Engineers have been dropping off like flies, so to speak. One Engineer was dismissed because they said the intent was there to steal. He was not found guilty of taking extra time and/or pay. Just that there was the intent to take. 

There are managers that have taken, absconded and done your run of the mill fraudulent deals who have never even had their hands slapped. It has been said that one manager in Seattle used to take so much from Amtrak that he was able to buy a house. Did the Inspector General come out to investigate them? No and it will never happen. Some Engineers get fired for intent while others make off like bandits or better yet, robber barons. That is part of the “Double Standards of Excellence” that all employees have learned in the Pacific Northwest. Thanks to MPF

Remote Control “Beltpacks” Will Save the World!

After many agonizing hours spent trying to make sense of the new full scale implementation of Remote Control Beltpack Operations, I have come to the conclusion that it is a wonderful thing for the carriers to do. This way, no one can tell whether productivity has dropped off or not since there won’t be any more conventional switch engines to compare them to!

The so-called statistics the carriers wave at us, must be true. They wouldn’t lie about something as important as this...would they? Besides, when was the last time they spun the truth? Additionally, CANAC, the builder of the “Beltpack”, wouldn’t present false or incomplete statistics (thereby filling the carriers with false hopes) just so they might sell another couple thousand of these things at about $150,000 per unit...would they? Nah!

Trust the carriers! They have it all figured out! They even go so far as to protect their latest toys by subverting our constitutional rights. Who needs them anyhow? All I want to do now is become a Remote Control Operator. The thought of having to work out in the weather with this great technological advancement strapped to me along with a radio pack, a timetable, some switch lists, while wearing ear plugs, gloves and protective glasses challenges me like nothing I have ever encountered.

It will be great fun to see if I can handle the numerous details of this type of operation. Now, let me see…I have to do everything a Locomotive Engineer does…except touch the standard controls. This adds a new dimension to “running by the seat of your pants” since I won’t be in the seat…until the railroads implement this technology out on the main line, that is! I must also do everything a Switch Foreman does…with the added burdens of hauling my tail around with additional pounds…as if I need them. I hope my knees hold out!

I have to ensure that the routes are always clear when pulling or shoving. I must obey all rules including train handling and air brake rules. I must obey all safety rules and must remember to stay within the confines of our zones or risk ruining it for the carrier. I must also obey my superiors when they tell me to “forget about the rule…we need to get the work done”. Take shortcuts…get a quit! 

I don’t know what all the whining is about. The FRA has stepped in and given the railroads strict parameters they must comply with or face obliteration…haven’t they? The public seems to trust the carriers, why shouldn’t we? I also heard that our jobs are guaranteed…to do what, I’m not sure.
To all who read this diatribe must understand that I am a faithful and true employee. The carrier managers and the regulatory people are keeping their mouths shut because they don’t know how to “just do the right thing” without losing their jobs! This must have something to do with national security! Let’s show the Bush supporters and our government that we are as patriotic as anyone. Let’s get behind this new invention and save the world! I think I’ll buy one for my wife! 
Tim Smith, Chairman CSLB/BLE