|All the News that’s Fit to Print
UP is busy lobbying the Nebraska legislature
to give them a tax break to do what they had planned anyway.
Up to 500 jobs are to be transferred to Omaha from St. Louis and
other locations. That is, as long as Uncle Pete gets a free
tax ride from the taxpayers of Omaha and the rest of Nebraska in
the form of up to 15% off their property, building and other state
taxes. Wake up, folks! Remember the term “corporate
welfare”? This way they get a free ride on the new building
they propose and can dump the old, patched up headquarters building
off on some unsuspecting local real estate broker and his equally
UP never did anyone any favors. To
allow the state legislature to pass a law which will be sold to the
public as “for the public good”, or “ it’ll get more
employment in our local area.”
Is absolute bullshit! Anyone who can
honestly say that the Union Pacific Railroad has given more to any
community they have touched than they have stolen from that
community is out of touch with reality.
A Seasonal Note
A conductor in Livonia yard was charged with
not checking to see if the switch was free of debris before lining
it. It seems that an officer placed an egg in the switch points as
a test, the conductor saw the egg and figured gee, that’s funny,
and lined the switch. So now we're all Easter Egg hunting!
It’s not just a job, it’s an adventure.
View from the Hump
For those of you who haven’t had the
pleasure, the Roseville Hump has been a source of heartburn for UP
management ever since the first car rolled down the lead through
about a thousand Dowty retarders and shot out the other end of the
bowl like a scalded cat. This should have been a wake-up call
to the poor fools in charge of the Grand Opening, (most of whom are
no longer in positions of authority) but the message was lost in
UP’s usual massive system of denial and blame. So here we
are, almost two years later, and does it work? Well, that
depends on who you ask.
The engineering and design types have long
since disappeared, covering their tracks behind them, so the local
managers are left holding the bag. According to them, the
whole thing just needs to be “fine-tuned” a bit and we’ll be
humping 1800 cars a day like clockwork. On the other hand,
the Switchmen and Yardmasters who have to work this mess every day,
day in and day out, know the hard truth. This “Jewel of the
West” yard is a failure and the only thing holding the whole
fiasco together is the hard work of experienced employees who know
that if it totally fails their jobs are on the line.
The new management buzzword this month is
“accountability.” OK guys, who’s accountable for the
150 mil you bozos dumped into this bottomless pit?
Who’s going to fix this monumental screw-up? I’m
I. M. Pissed, Conductor and UP Stockholder
We get Letters, Part 23
Has anyone ever considered the thought of
filing a lawsuit against Union Pacific Railroad for unreimbursed
expenses that the company forces on its employees? I believe
that the dislocation and travel expenses we occur as trainmen
should not be a burden to the employees or the IRS. Union
Pacific Railroad has shifted their operating costs on to us to the
point where putting food on the table is an issue. The
employees pass these expenses on to the IRS, which should not be
their burden, either. Our contracts have imposed major
hardships on families, and it is time for us to take a stand.
There have been successful judgements against corporations who have
forced employees to cover operating costs. (Kerr v. Snap-On
Tool Co.) The employees had to agree to cover the operating
costs as a condition of employment and they still won! IT IS
Going Broke in Oregon as UP stock
continues to rise.
Last time we stepped in it big time and
forgot to credit our brothers in San Antonio for the “Deadhead
from Hell story.” Our apologies. Check out their
website at www.upsasu.org . Stood up again dep’t:
February’s local chairmen’s meeting with Superintendent
Sheetrock was shot down at the last minute because this
money-short, tight fisted operation had to send its senior officers
300 miles to see 10 cars on the ground at Dunsmuir, CA. At least we
didn’t have to duck flying office supplies….Don’t give a drop
of your blood or any other fluid to the carrier. (Yeah, I know all
the wisecracks.) The Big Nothing So Far got caught trying to
genetically classify its employees as to their propensity to
injury. Look out, folks, the RRs are trying to evade their
responsibility once again. If you’re hurt, shut up and
ALWAYS call a Union Officer….Norfolk Southern, one of Uncle
Pete’s competitors, has announced that it has given its senior
management a substantial bonus this year, in spite of lackluster
performance. Of course, this means that the Rev. Ike and Dickie Boy
will get their usual totally underserved and lofty sums very soon.
After all, the NS can’t do better than us, can they? …Coming up
on our web site: The Foothill Chronicles, the dramatic and
exciting story of one service unit’s struggle to solve all the
problems inherent in running a semi-successful railroad in Northern
California… Trainmaster Jack Fuller has chosen to leave the Union
Pacific Railroad. This may not sound like a big deal unless
you know Jack. You’ll notice that I called him Trainmaster, the
traditional title of a railroad officer, not some kind of
three-letter “manager.” Jack has always been admired and
respected by the troops out in the field. He is a fair and
humane officer who gets the job done without harassment and will
not tolerate the kind of bullying and anti-social behavior so
common on today’s UP. Jack is from the old school.
If you screw up, you may get an ass-chewing, but not a “level”
to get you closer to being fired. I’ve known a lot of
officers in my railroad career, but few have measured up to this
guy. Once again, UP has run off some of the best help they
Work Safe, and keep an eye on the new
“The most subservient slaves are those who
have been told they’re free and don’t know any better.”
Wm. B. Leavenworth
Free Railroad Rules Classes (Paid
“Union Pacific offers FREE rules
instruction in several locations to all those interested. We
guarantee that if you pass our classes, you will get: A
seniority number, a cushy spot on the cut-off board, a stack of
bills you can’t pay, less-than-pocket-change unemployment
benefits, low self-esteem, managers who will say, “It’s all
your fault!”, and a nervous twitch whenever you see the color
yellow. Results may vary. Prior experience and engineer
certification mean nothing. Call 1-800-CUT-MEOFF today for
your FREE information packet. Remember, you must be willing
to give up the good job you have now and wait for UP to call you,
so don’t have a life. Management positions always available
due to high turnover.”
(Thanks to Bat M. for the idea)
The standard gauge for railroads in most of
the English-speaking world is 56 1/2 inches. One may wonder
how this came about, but it’s really quite simple. Early
railways in England and Ireland were built by the same folks who
built the tramways, which had existed since before the industrial
revolution. And these tramways were built on the same pattern as
wagons had been built for hundreds of years before that. In
order to avoid destroying their wheels and axles on the rough roads
of the time, they were designed to run in the existing ruts.
Most of the major roads of the time had ruts in them for centuries.
They were part of the system of Roman roads built throughout the
empire to accommodate the war chariots of Imperial Rome, which were
pulled by two horses. Specifications and bureaucracies live
forever. So the next time you are told to do something and
ask what horse’s ass came up with this idea, you’ll know the
answer. It probably took two of them. Because Roman war
chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the back end of
two horses, the pattern was set for railroad management for
centuries. Some things never change.
(Special thanks to Annie O.)
In their never-ending quest to rid themselves
of former SP officers, UP has offered an early retirement/buy-out
to those who qualify. Our spies in Omaha tell us that the
carrier has decided they can get by with fewer useless managers so,
in their usual logical fashion, they get rid of the most qualified.
Of course, this makes the ones who remain behind look better
because the smart ones they used to compare them to are gone.
Here in Roseville we bid farewell to Ed Kief, Ed Wiseman and Lt.
Dan. Keif and Wiseman have been replaced but nobody can fill
the shoes of Lt. Dan. We understand there is a system-wide
search going on to find a qualified water-bottle officer.
Our condolences to the survivors.
We Get Letters, again
Ed. Note: I get about 10 or so like this
every month. What do you think?
I am a railfan in former CNW territory in
Central Iowa. My grandfather (R.I.P.) worked 25 years for the
CNW as a switchman. First off, the UP's prize Overland Route across
Iowa has 53 slow orders on one main alone between Boone and
Clinton, IA. Reminds me of what the CNW main was in the 1970's.
Pretty soon, you will hear of a wreck on this line. Many
days, trains are backed up waiting to get into Clinton. On the
Spine Line, south of Des Moines is a parking lot, with sidings
blocked holding dead trains. It's a mess!
Dave, Sons of the CNW
The Last Straw…
As I’m sure most of the SP west folks have
already heard, the “Team West Colton” concept has gone right in
the crapper thanks to a leaked communication between the nazi
minions in their further quest to destroy what’s left of the
little trust we ever had for UP management. Nice going, guys.
Dick will probably give you all a promotion for this one.
Either that or kick your stupid butts.
The carrier and UTU came to a meeting of
the minds and dropped the ridiculous lawsuit against some of the
members there for supposedly slowing down their operations.
Nobody ever gave a thought to the fact that these number-crunchers
have tied both hands behind our backs in the name of injury
prevention so that we can’t get anything done, anyway.
Nevertheless, they continue to persecute the very folks who make
their meaningless jobs possible in the first place.
Bottomfeeders in Roseville, set-‘em-up and bust ‘em in West
Colton are just the beginning. Incompetent, arrogant
jackasses like these are now in charge where railroaders used to
rule. The editors of Snakebites believe that the solution
lies in doing exactly as you are told. If you do exactly as
you are told they have no way to attack you. In fact, things
will go into the dumpster so fast they won’t be able to bring in
new managers fast enough to screw it up into the next level.
(Pardon the term!) So, Remember:
We always work safely, we do not “slow
down”, since it is illegal, we only do as we are told.
Gee, we’re sorry your railroad doesn’t
work any more, guess you forgot how to do this stuff in your rush
to bolster the stock price and make sure you get your bonuses.
Please let us know how else we can help.
Special note to every Superintendent on
the UP who instructs their managers to harass or intimidate the
troops: Today you are the big guy, tomorrow you are just
another poor dumb unemployed jerk. We union folks out here
will always have a job. Will you? Probably not.
I remember the guy who said, “Can’t we
all just get along?”
It’s too late, I think. You