Vol 4 Issue III Roseville CA Fathers Day, 1998
Truth, Reliability and Charley Brown
Do you remember the annual ritual of Lucy holding the football for Charley Brown to kick? Charley Brown would inquire, "Lucy,
you arenít going to jerk the ball away at the last moment again, are you? Lucy would always reply, "Charley Brown, youíve got to
have faith and trust in Mankind. You have to BELIEVE. Trust me!" Charley was convinced. He would run full speed to kick the
football and Lucy pulled it back at the last moment. Charley Brown did a double-back flip and landed flat on this back in the dirt.
Lucy looked and shouted, "Fool!
Four bombs were found in the Roseville Yard; put in holes and detonated. After an extensive search, the U.P. declared the Yard
safe and free of any more bombs. The next week seven more bombs were discovered and destroyed. A private firm was called in
to search and discover. The U.P. declared the Yard safe and free of any more bombs. As more bombs are found on a regular
basis, the U.P. assures us that the yard is safer and the public welfare is their main goal.
"Damn, Lucy, at least show me the football!
Recently our C.E.O. in the U.P. electronic newsletter enlightened us with the news that all RR traffic congestion through Houston
to Mexico was over and the problems solved. An S.T.B. member was even given a special train tour down the Main Line to
Houston to see for herself the "Big Fix." Believe me, that was an expedited train! The World Wide Web, mainly E-mail from
Texas told a story of how many trains were hidden on branch lines and out of sight places. And of course, how clear the Main
Track was for a brief moment. But now of course, the Texas debacle is minuscule compared with the gridlock in the LA Basin.
The command center in Colton is referred to as the "commode" center and it often takes 2 or more crews to make the 60 mile run
from LA to Colton.
"You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but not all of the people all of the time."
Would you like to buy a lottery ticket on when we find the next bomb in Roseville? Would you care to venture a guess? Ah
shucks, youíre too late; the backhoe just hit another Hawthorne Nevada Special. I wonder if the Big Boys at the top have ever,
just for a moment, considered telling their work force the TRUTH? I guess they wouldnít be at the top if they were truth tellers,
and Charley Brown is just a character in a comic strip.
Everybody knows that UP labor relations is filled with obstructionists and contrarians, but their recent actions show that they are
unAmerican and unpatriotic.
Some of our brothers and sisters are week-end warriors, taking time off each month to fulfill their patriotic obligation by honing
their skills in the warrior class. One such member inquired why he should be punished for laying off to go drive tanks for a
week-end. It seems that extra board guarantee is voided if one lays off more than 84 hours during a payroll period.
"No problem" the griever said, "we'll just ask the carrier to treat you in the same manner as a union business layoff, that is, days
laid off on union business are treated as days not on the extra board." And so the process bubbled up to Omahaha
Everyone was stunned when the response came back from the Nazis in Omaha. They do not give a damn about employees that
make personal sacrifices to protect this nation. This company, shamefully, is punishing people financially for being in the military
It should come as no surprise that this arrogant outfit displays unpatriotic, unAmerican, and anti-employee bias. If it weren't a
violation of Rule 1.6, we could say "A pox on those callous bastards on the third floor." But it is a violation so we won't say it.
Yardmasters Speak Out!
As a yardmaster I would like to respond to your last issue of Snakebites. In that edition the switchmen's local chairman made a
remark about how "we need more yardmasters who speak English". Well sir it's not that we need yardmasters who speak English,
it's that we need yardmasters who understand "Whinease". As you probably know "Whinease" is an extemely difficult language to
understand. The high pitched nasal twang of "Iwannaogotobeans", and the oft repeated word, "dowereallyhavetodoallthework" as
well as the universal "wewantaquityounogoodsob." We as yardmasters, who have to work a full 8 hour shift, have a hard time
interpreting the aforementioned "Whinease". So if you can teach switchmen to learn "English" as a first language we would be
greatly in your debt.
Thank you! The Yardmasters of Roseville
>From around the System
Roseville Yard - Construction of the yard continues at a furious (That's the U.P. definition of "glacial") pace. So far we're
over budget and only 9 months WHOOOOM!!!, Oops, a grader just uncovered another bomb, make that 10 months behind
schedule. Rumor has it that when the rebuilt yard is dedicated, it will be renamed as "West Hawthorne."
Colton Yard - It was reported that someone has been placing U.P. shield stickers in all of the mens urinals. This really gives
the employees something to aim for. Thumbs up. LA Basin - With the hiring frenzy going on now it seems that some of our
experienced brakemen and switchmen with 6 months under their belt are often forced to train the new people coming on board. Is
there a problem here? Thumbs down.
Fresno - This just in. Attila the Hun has been spotted in Fresno ranting, raving and generally throwing tantrums in an effort to
squeeze the last ounce of production out of the troops. Perhaps someone needs to get a life and learn that you get more with
cooperation than you do by treating your employees like slaves. Thumbs way down.
Texas - The Fort Worth Star-Telegram ran a lengthy article on a recent trip by Dick Davidson to Texas to observe operations.
The lead photo (standing in front of an engine) is interesting in that he is wearing a hardhat and hearing protection, but NO safety
glasses. Not only did he violate a "Cardinal Rule" he may have violated another rule when he was quoted as saying "Things are
back to normal . . . . " Well boss, I'm not sure what "normal" means to you, but it sure doesn't seem normal when the only way to
get cars in or out of the yard is with a helicopter.
Ray Slingsby - Roseville switchman Ray Slingsby passed away in June. Ray hired out in Dunsmuir yard and moved to Roseville
when Dunsmuir was closed. Ray was an avid prankster (which is one of the qualifications for being a switchman) but pranksters
often got as good as they received. One such incident was when trainmaster Ed Wiseman popped into the shanty one day and
quickly spotted Ray's street shoes. A gleam appeared in Ed's eyes and he commented on how Ray's feet would probably be pretty
hot after all that work on the lead, and so he carefully placed Ray's shoes in the freezer.
After a series of roll-outs from the departure yard, the hand brake requirement increased from 5 to 8 and thus we would tie 5 good
ones and 3 "Slingsby brakes," which shows how legends are born and carry on long after your departure.
Rick "Skillethead" Walsh - On May 5th , 1998 Brother Rick Walsh died peacefully in the Lordís Hands. Rick, affectionately
known as Skillethead, ran out of tokens on this merry-go-round of life. We will miss his good natured fellowship, bright humor,
inventive nature, and his compassion for his Rail Brothers and Sisters.
Rick had the idea to start a Health and Welfare Fund for our Brothers and Sisters that fell into dire straits. Thanks to Rickís
insight, over $3000 has been given out to those in extreme need.The first to be helped vehemently opposed Rickís plan , but
tearfully thanked him the next year for saving his house and caring for his children.
Kathy Walsh said Rick wished to be cremated, put in a box , turned upside down, and buried by the railroad tracks so the railroad
could kiss his ass every time a train went by. Brother , we will miss you.!!! Let us know if Heaven really is in Texas...
Ask Dan Landers
I liked your article last issue about Frankie Young wondering if a man was alone in the forest, without his wife, would he still be
wrong? Your answer was well documented and your Sister Rails would like a little more, less drastic feminist tidbits. Here is my
slight reroute on an old tale:
Once upon a time, a beautiful, independent, self assured princess happened upon a frog in a pond. The frog said to the princess, I
was once a handsome prince until an evil witch put a spell on me. One kiss from you and I will turn back into a prince and then we
can marry, move back into the castle with my mom and you can prepare my meals, clean my clothes, bear my children and
forever be happy doing so.
That night , while the princess dined on frog legs, she kept laughing and saying, I donít think so.
Kate Rose , Univ. of Texas,
Austin Ph.D. Frog Studies
Dear Rosie Child,
It does have a nice new ring to a boring old husbandís fairy tale, and with change being the constant in life, we could
use a fresh , unjaded outlook like yours. Sincerely, Dan
Did you know that the plans to tear down the Yard Office in Roseville have changed? I guess no one looked at the 1906 contract
between the City of Roseville and the old S.P. , the year the rail yard moved from Rocklin to Roseville. Perhaps they didnít even
look at the updates over the years. Somewhere in the fine print it says, if the railroad tears down the Yard Office the property
must revert back to the City of Roseville. WHOOPS!!!! DUH!!!
Shady Lady ,
Damn the fine print. This is a busy U.P. without the time or personnel to mess with the small stuff. But you let the cat out
of the hat. We thought if no one saw that, by next year we would be City of Roseville employees, who could retire at 30
years, would never be forced out of Roseville, could have two days a week off with no levels of discipline working for the
Roseville Terminal Railroad.
Well, what do you think ???
P.S. Charging the U.P. big bucks with big penalties for payroll errors. Sound Good ?
Now that the U.P. has come out with this new UPSHARES program, I'm really confused. I sought advice from my financial
advisor but my wife couldn't figure it out either. I know that I am locked in at $55.00 a share, but what happens if the price of
stock is less than that when it is vested?
Confused in North Platte
It's rather simple, U.P. will insist that you buy the stock at $55.00 per share and will payroll deduct the entire amount out
of your paycheck. By the time the stock is vested, that will be the only income U.P. has. Good Luck, Dan
Switchman of the Month
Phil Jump is hereby recognized as the Switchman of the Month. He is always positive, helpful to all new employees, and
compassionate with strangers in need of a helping hand. Phil is bright and applies himself to making a safe working environment
and getting his work done in an efficient manner.
Phil illustrates the high qualities of a great critical thinker, he applies them to his workplace and also applies them to his own
personal life. Phil, you are the example that makes me want to be a better person.
Winning this coveted award gives you free airline travel anywhere in the World (as long as your wife works for the Airlines) or a
night on the town with Mark and Dan at the famous Purple Parrot Cafe & Bar in wonderful downtown Hollywood. A very
friendly place!!! Or a chance to spend an unreal, unnatural evening with The King & Jerry Garcia at Elvas Tower.(could involve a
rule G violation.) Think carefully, this is a once in a lifetime trip without leaving the farm.
Congratulations Phil, You are: Switchdude of the Month.
No, not true. TCS does not stand for: (T)his (C)omputer (S)ucks
Is it OK for the Griever to have a grievance? (By the way, this may not apply to all of you!) Hell, yes!! I'm getting real tired of all
this whining about problems with timekeeping and crew dispatching. I'm not in charge of either department! I'm just here to help
the rest of you through the maze the idiots have set up. But guess what? You want me to pass my magic wand over this bullshit
and make everything OK without lifting a finger on your own behalf. How many times have I asked you to give me some
How many times have I asked you to WRITE IT DOWN? There are lists of phone numbers on the shanty wall you can call, so
DO IT! If you won't give me the weapons, don't ask me to go to war. The only way we can keep the bastards on their toes is to
be sharper than they are. I know switchmen are sharper than timekeepers because we have a much higher standard of living.
Besides, we are much better looking, anyway.
More work for the Drones Dep't: A memo is circulating which requires all Co. Officers to fill out miss call reports daily and enter
them into the BIG COMPUTER. Then they get to report the same info to one of our local leaders for evaluation. TPA takes care
of most missed calls, guys. Try railroading for a living.
Is anybody worried about the bottom line around here? S&P figures you're not. The risk on your credit just got worse. Speaking of
credit (oops, that's credibility. Funny how those seem to go together.) Anyway, seems there were some electric switches at the
diesel shop that have been handled for many years in a proffessional manner by our own highly skilled 245 Herders. Seems a
certain Union Officer was assured by a high-ranking UP officer that these switches would continue to be handled by these same
experienced and highly skilled employees. Seems these same switches were made hand throws and taken away from our loyal
and dedicated switchmen. Now, of course, question is; Who is in charge? Seems a certain Mechanical Dep't. Officer can relocate
yard switches around at will. What's next?
Bro. Gary Green and Bro. Jeff Stambuk have recently tied the matrimonial knot (No, not with each other.) I would be remiss if I
didn't at least mention this and urge all my fellow switchmen to remind both of these poor blind fools that they have done this
before and should know better. Seriously, my best wishes to them both.
No dumb-assed switchman of the month again! Damn! Legal folks say I can no longer use the term "Dumb-Assed Switchman" as
it is bigoted, sexist, and generally true only of certain individuals of whom I won't mention and are the same idiots who worry about
If any of you are pissed off at your employer, your union, your wife, your dog, your congressman, your kids, the IRS, or your
exspouse and/or his/her boyfriend/girlfriend, have I got a deal for you. August 11-12-13, 1998, right up the road in RENO,
NEVADA. You can attend the UTU Regional meeting and on the last day, (that's the 13th) President Little will speak and answer
questions. If you ever wanted to bitch, moan, complain, whine, object or just generally be a pain in the ass, now is your chance.
Local 1570 thinks this is such a neat opportunity we are even going to help you get there. See a local union officer for details.
A number of employees were rewarded for their quick action in averting a serious accident recently, and it would be unfortunate if
we didn't recognize the fact that this award would not have happened except for the efforts of MYO Willie Sweatt (Of course
after this pat on the back, they'll probably demote him.) Switchmen and Brakemen will always go out of our way to prevent injury
to our sisters and brothers and, if we can, even save the company a few bucks. It's refreshing to know that at least one local
manager is aware of the job we do every day to keep the railroad running in spite of what those geniuses in a Nebraska cornfield
would have us do.
Word to the wise: New signals and crossovers at the West end. Way down there. Called Citrus Heights. Get to know the area
and how it works. Look it up in the latest general notices and general orders and DON'T SCREW UP! We've used our last favor
on this one. Write when you get a real job, The Sarge
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride
This first appeard in "The Valley Flyer" years ago and has been revised to show that some problems don't seem to go away and
exist on all railroads.
Ring-ring, "Hullo?" "CMS, you're called to dead-head to Sparks at 2:00 am." -click-. You get up grab some coffee, trying to figure
out why you got called when the line-up showed you were 12 times out. The drones must be dropping turns again. You go over
the instructions to your wife about where the life insurance policy is and the number to your FELA attorney and head off to work.
As you pull out of the driveway, it begins to rain, which means snow on "the hill."
You arrive at the "chicken coup." You're still tired as you hadn't planned on getting out til next morning. All that you want to do is
crawl into the "Rats-in-burger" carryall and get some more sleep. Your worst fear is confirmed when a taxi comes careening into
the parking lot. The driver bolts into the "coop" asking who is going to Sparks. He looks wild-eyed, jittery, strung out on uppers, like
he's on his 3rd shift with no sleep.
We load up and fasten the seat belts a little tighter than usual, then try to relax. The green flag drops on this cabbie's next
attempted record run to Sparks. We race out of the parking lot, running every red light in town. "Ahhh, the freeway, maybe I can
relax," you think. "Mr. Checkov, bring her up to warp speed." Why is the cabbie sticking his head out the window? You tighten the
seat belt another notch.
Colfax ahead, but now the rain has snow mixed in with it. It hasn't been to bad up to this point, but now the road goes to hell as
truckers with chains have torn it up so bad that the roads in the bay area looked better after the last earthquake.
Still at warp factor 1, the taxi is all over the road. No fault of the cabbie though, because 1) the road looks like a bombing run 2)
the taxi has 100,000 plus miles on it 3) the rain and snow cover the road with slush and 4) the taxi keeps pulling to the left. In a
flash of foresight you ask the cabbie if he has chains. "Chains" he answers, "Uhh, I think so." You swallow the lump in your throat
and cross yourself.
The weather slacks off a bit and you thank God and promise to attend church the next time you happen to be in town on a Sunday.
Approaching the summit at Norden, we insist the cabbie pull over at a rest stop so we can empty our bladders and consider the
possibility of hitchhiking the rest of the way. The cabbie is agitated and looking at his watch. You flip a coin, eat some rolaids, the
hogger flips another coin and we get back into the cab. The cabbie floors it and peels rubber all the way onto the freeway in order
to make up for lost time.
You breathe a sigh of relief as it is all downhill and the odds of ending up a popsicle in a snowbank get slimmer with each mile. As
we streak by Boomtown, there suddenly becomes a noticible wobble in the tires. The cabbie attempts to smooth it out by
increasing to warp factor two. Your knuckles are white and fingernails bleeding from gripping the dashboard.
At last we pull into the yard office at Sparks and we fall out and onto our knees and kiss the ground. Another deadhead in the bag!
The dinger tells you to call CMS. Ahh, you think, perhaps you're called on arrival to take one back to Roseville, a quick turnaround
that makes your deadhead "combo service." Your luck has finally turned. Maybe its even a "shooter." You anxiously call CMS and
are informed, "The crew balancer sees we got too many turns in Sparks and we want you to deadhead back to Roseville."
(S)Crew of the Month
Recently a yard crew in Roseville was recognized by a certain local officer as having a high level of proficiency in the amount of
cars handled per shift. Yes sir, Foreman Bob Pettus and helpers Charlie Sandoval and Jerry Thompson kicked butt during that
In recognition of their achievments, this officer has promised a fitting reward. They have been given the choice of any one of the
1. For the next 3 months their paychecks will actually reflect what they reallly earned. No mistakes!
2. A "Get out of Level 1 Free" card
3. A U.P. "Cardinal Rules" placard in a simulated gold frame suitable for mounting on your living room wall.
CMS, HDC and other Gripes
Everyone knows that the "stratified" and "centralized" structure that MOP has imposed cannot, does not, and never will work.
CMS is an uncontrolled entity that's running amok. Train dispatching is a lost art and everyday some poor bastard gets hauled out
of HDC in an ambulance. And what about the U.P. computer system? Now there is a real work of art. Here we are entering the
21st century and every user has to enter a string of data on a command line in order to get information. User friendly? No way! Is
there any other company out there that has such antiquated computer programs? Not!
We digress, back to centralization. Lets see how this came about. In an effort to gain efficiencies, the MOP managers who gained
control of U.P. centralized crew dispatching and train dispatching. In the process, they lost hundreds of competent, knowledgeable
employees who refused to move to Omahaha.
No problem, with computerization, they figured they didn't need any competent or knowledgeable employees. In fact, they thought
they would be better off to get rid of them and have new people off the street that were not tainted with the old process.Then they
started increasing everyone's territory and shuffling people from areas they were familiar with to areas they weren't and
employees started getting stressed. It reached a point of no return when experienced callers were bailing out and the new hires
are dropping like flies saying "Screw this job, I don't need this shit."
Then a movement began, slow but steady, more and more managers came to realize that what the employees had been telling
them was the truth. Now some are quietly questioning the value of centralization, but fearful of revenge from the MOP Nazis they
never say the dirty "D" word. No, there is a brand new concept on the horizon. Its called "Command Centers" and every hub shall
But not one MOP (mis)manager will ever admit that they made a huge mistake with centralization. Don't you wish there wasn't a
rule against calling these same MOP slave drivers "Arrogant Bastards?" Yeah, to bad we can't.
THE CROW LAW FIRM
Desiginated UTU Legal Counsel
Jim Gilwee and Lloyd " Chip" Rabb II
Calif. office (800)795 6555 or (916)441-2980
Ariz. office (800)354-3352 or (520)888-6740
When real trouble strikes!
The contents of SNAKEBITES are half-truths, downright lies, innuendos, rumors and other fiction. Any resemblance to real life
people or situations is unintended. If anyone takes offense, they should take a pill, relax and think about getting a real life.
SNAKEBITES is an unofficial sporadic publication by the Roseville Switchmen and comes to you absolutely FREE. However, to
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