ISSUE 6 Volume 99 ROSEVILLE CA June 25, 1999
ROSEVILLE HUB CUT-OVER BLUES
By now, everyone should have seen the good news on BTV (aka UPlies) about the
smooth cutover of RV Hub. What? There has been no mention of RV Hub on BTV?
Hmmmm, if it was going smooth, UPlies would be sounding the trumpet of
success. One can only surmise that bad news does not get reported and they
are trying to downplay the RV Hub cutover as a "non-event."
Wanted: Bakersfield Engineers, no experience necessary, all applications
accepted. Yes, it seems that the hogheads that left Bakersfield to follow
their work to Roseville left a vacuum that UP can't seem to fill. Trains are
being parked between Roseville and Bakersfield and our spies in the Portland
Hub report that Klamath Falls and Eugene are now holding trains destined for
California. No problem, just change their identities so that they won't show
as being delayed. Tell everyone the big lie. Oh, the price of stock went up
again? Well then, everything must be okay.
Also in a stroke of brilliance, they've started running some of the Southern
California traffic from Oregon via Portland, Hinkle, SLC, and then into Los
Angeles. This is a total stroke of efficiency as now instead of only using 5
crew districts to move this traffic, they can now use at least 11 crew
Pilot, oh Pilot, where art thou? Naturally, the shortage of engineers has
been compounded by the fact that very little effort went into the proper
amount of training on new territories prior to cutover. Many trains require
an engineer pilot which just further eats into the available workforce.
As for conductors, the week prior to cutover, a few "dome" car trips were
made between Roseville-Sparks and Stockton-Portola. Whats that? The "dome"
car special took 17 hours? Whoa, what kind of training do you get when you're
dog-assed tired? Now the conductors are starting to hear that old familiar
tune, "The engineer is your pilot." Yeah, right, now tell me again how that
engineer pilots me when I'm 80 car lengths from the engine in the middle of
the night? Hey FRA, wake-up! Are you listening?
Another problem was that initially the CMS computer system was just throwing
bodies at trains without regard to who stood for the service. It seems that
when they changed the pools, no one redid the vacancy procedures so when a
crew dispatcher prompted for a crew, it pulled up the old district. Corridor
managers often added to the confusion by juggling crews en route. We may as
well have had one gigantic extra board and called people from the middle.
Is Roseville Hub downward spiraling into a "Houston" melt-down? No, as long
as traffic is diverted to other routes, trains will eventually get moved.
Although short on engineers, as people get qualified on new territories, that
problem will ease (except at Bakersfield).
In summary, what has UP learned from prior hub cutovers? They have learned to
divert traffic, hide the parked trains, and lie about what is really
happening. Watch BTV. In several months they will report that when RV Hub was
cutover, it went "relatively" smooth. That is, "Relative to the Kosovo
bombings." Question everything, especially any UP charts, statistics and
Leaving the Stone Age
I watched a cartoon the other day with my little granddaughter. It was about
a horrible dinosaur who devoured everyone he saw because they could not run
fast enough to get away and weren't strong enough to fight back. Then one
day, one of the little cave-men figured out a way to make their tiny little
spears much larger and launch them from a catapult. End of dinosaur.
Technology, even as crude as the cartoon cave-men built, can be the advantage
that makes the difference. The approaching twenty-first century brings
challenges that a technological world can ill-afford to ignore. It's a hell
of a lot more complicated these days than when the labor movement started and
all you had to know was how to fire a furnace or load a ship or boxcar or
drive a team or truck.
You still have to know your job, of course. If you're no good at your job,
though, you won't be much of an asset to your employer. What did he just
say?", I hear my fellow union types ask.
When I first watched that little cartoon, I first thought of the carrier as
the dinosaur, devouring the little guys. Then I began to wonder, just who
is the dinosaur?
Well, brothers and sisters, I'm afraid it might be us.
The recent training classes and the rebuild of our yard here in Roseville
have opened many eyes about how technology has changed our world. If you
had told any of us even ten years ago that computers, track sensors, and
other high-tech devices would replace some of our folks here, we'd have
laughed at you. Nobody's laughing now.
The fact is, technology is here NOW, and it's here to stay. You can bitch
about the good old days and wish it would all go away. Some of us are close
enough to pulling the pin it really doesn't matter. But the rest are here for
a few (or many) more years and we had better get used to learning new stuff,
because here it comes, ready or not.
Compared to other industries, the railroads have a lot of catching up to do.
One of the reasons is that our own labor organizations have forced them to
retain antiquated work rules and kept unproductive employees on the payroll
much longer than neccessary. Don't get me wrong, I still believe we have to
protect our jobs. But we also have to face economic and technological facts.
Think about this: The clerks had their "guaranteed" jobs with the TOPS
agreement. They sat on their asses and said , "It ain't in my agreement",
and spent a lot of time producing NOTHING! Now, if you had to pay the bill
for this, what would you do? You bet. Find a way to cut the cost. I'm not
picking on the clerks here, we've all done this and have had a hand in making
the situation we're in now. Remember, there are two sides to every story.
The carriers want to run efficient and profitable businesses. The Unions
want decent wages, benefits and working conditions. Simple, right?
Well, yes, it could be. But first we have to kill a few dinosaurs.
Here's as big a T-Rex as you'll meet. Last heard screwing up the carrier's
operating plans to enforce their own brand of justice. As in "the former SP
West will be made to pay for their past success." What the hell kind of
positive results come from that attitude? Instead of planning an efficient
operation and taking care of delivering the customer's goods, they have a
whole department that is dedicated to screwing employees at every turn.
Well. Here's another ball of wax. They spend most of their time keeping
their over-paid and unnecessary jobs intact while filling the heads of their
membership full of crap about how we can win if we are unified; then coerce
politicians to force businesses to do things which are ultimately
unproductive and result in the loss of jobs. Nice work if you can get it.
Still think it's the ninteenth century. Never listen to anyone except the
wall-builders in middle management (see below) who are ultimately responsible
for most of the mess because they act like, or are former, union leaders.
(See above). Usually appointed or hired on the basis of who, not what, they
know. Examples abound.
Probably the most dangerous and detestable level of company (or Union)
management you'll find. These drones rise to a certain level in any
organization and, when they realize they've topped out, start to build a
protective wall around themselves which stops all communication with those
from below to those above. All that gets through is the watered down BS that
they allow. They will go to any extreme to protect their little walled-in
world since they know that if anyone exposes their secrets they would be
destroyed, demoted and be forced to work for a living.. If they spent half as
much time and energy in constructive pursuits as they do in "wall-building"
they would be billionaires. Instead they choose to be loosers and live in
Omaha or Cleveland.
Don't even get me started.
Federal, State and Local Bureaucrats.
Drones whose sole purpose in life is to create more of their kind. Bad
habits are: drowning productive workers in regulations and getting their
lunch bought by Union hacks and Company lackeys.
Whiney-Assed union members.
Never attend union meetings, bitch about everything, ask for everything, give
nothing and think the griever is an idiot. Until they get in trouble.
If I still have to sum all this up, I guess I'm amazed that the American
Railroad Industry makes a profit at all. Hauling a zillion tons of whatever
around 24 hrs a day 365 a year no matter what, takes some doing. Only
America's railroads can handle the job. And America's Railroads will only
work when the managers of these companies realize that their most valuable
asset is not tracks, real estate, locomotives or cars, but the PEOPLE WHO DO
I was asked by a UP bigshot why most SP folks didn't like the UP. I
thought about it a while and then I asked him: "If someone told you that you
were a worthless loser, tried to fire you and treated you like the scum of
the earth, and then, in the next breath, said we gotta all pull together and
make it work, what the hell would you think?"
UP and our Unions will continue to be losers as long as they treat people the
way they do. Nobody buys the BS guys, quit lying to us and the public.
FRA, PUC, and all those other regulators are waiting to take a shot at you.
Glad I'm not management!
STAY SAFE, Give ‘em Hell!
TOP TEN REASONS WHY THE NEW ROSEVILLE YARD MIGHT BE A COMMUNIST PLOT!
10. The accents of people hanging around the new hump office are
9. UPRR's new motto is "When in Doubt, Blame the employees."
8. Top Management are on the way out, just like Yeltsin.
7. UP has more passwords than the KGB.
6. Roseville employees are guaranteed work, somewhere in Siberia.
5. Computer system is the same as the one on the MIR space station.
4. MIR space station docking procedures resemble a hump roll-out.
3. New management wants to be referred to as "Comrade."
2. The tops of all the new buildings are painted RED.
AND THE #1 REASON IS:
1. The length of time it will take them to realize it doesn't work will
last as long as the Cold War!
---the Accidental Boomer
RV HUB CUTOVER
AS SEEN FROM THE TOW PATH AT OZOL
I was kind of surprised that I had a crew last night as Monday they
called and blanked my job, Tuesday we sat around all night and listened to
Ron Hillman waiting for a train that never showed up, and last night they
took my engineer and helper and shoved them over to the Autos Job. The
Yardmaster said, "Your engineer and helper will be coming from Roseville."
Little did we know we were doomed from the get go.
Ron made a deal with the Autos Job to just spot the autos on the lead
(800) and reach out to Bahia and suck the set out in to the siding (800) and
come back and tie up. My helper was gone to the other side quick as a flash,
two day's pay. Tony thought there was a chance for a "quit" so he adiosed.
The Shell Job went light, so there I sat listening to Ron again.
Then a train stops outside on the ML and drops off a crew who had
been sitting at MP 45 and had "died" on the hours of service law. Chris
Roadie was the pilot and they had a loaner from Utah as an engineer and a
conductor from the Coast. They had 16 1/2 hours against them and couldn't
get transportation from anywhere to anywhere so they commandeered a passing
train and hitch a ride to Ozol. Ron spent the next three hours on and off
the phone with Jackie Jordan who was wound up tighter than a watch spring.
Suddenly another crew shows up, George Castro, same thing, close to
17 hours on duty and stuck at Suisun. They flagged down Sonny the clerk
while he was checking autos and he ferried them to Ozol. Buy this time it
was apparent that the Great Roseville Hub Implementation was melting down.
George had been listening to the Dunsmuir Dispatcher who was complaining that
there were trains tied up in every siding on his spoke of the hub.
Next we get a call from my hoghead in Roseville stating that there
will be no transportation available until 4:00am so someone of authority told
him to forget coming to Ozol. Meanwhile I'm awaiting a helper from Oakland
(never saw him) that I assume had a similar problem.
The door opens and in steps a Peer Trainer, Dave Engman who informs
us that he was present when Carl Bradley held his conference call, which
incidentally he kept interrupting speakers who had questions regarding
various aspects of the implementation with, "We've got that covered!" Even
as all this was coming down all the little frustrations we are becoming used
to with the UP were still occurring. The Conductor stranded there couldn't
get through to CMS. Miss Jordan kept assuring Mr. Roadie that she was doing
everything in her power to get them to San Jose....
The phone conversations went back and forth. Ron was "volunteered"
to drive Mr. Castro and his Conductor to Oakland in the "company" car while I
played Yardmaster and according to "Fluffy" there was a taxi coming from
Roseville to carry Mr. Roadie and crew to San Jose. About that time Dave
Engman interjects that he is going to Oakland and can give one crew a lift
At some point Ted Bell steams by going a hundred miles an hour having
"patched" George's train, don't even ask what there IDs are. We're down to
one train and one crew now and the taxi calls from Shell, lost. Ron drives
up to show him the way to the Yard office.
All quiet on the western front. Its 3:00am and the Shell Job is
calling to come in. I hang around 'til 3:30am fascinated with watching the
melt down. As I drive down the road to a lightening sky in the East the
Autos Job pulls up to the switch to tie up. I flash my lights, Tony whistles
off. Ah! What will tomorrow bring? The adventure continues.
Some observations to consider. The guys need to be appraised as to
how the insurance thing works before they go out on a limb "helping" this
company out of their mess. The Crow Law Firm's Bob Lloyd has written an
article regarding this and may be willing to reprint or send a copy via
e-mail for distribution. The hours of service violations need to be reported
to JP Jones of the UTU California State Legislative as soon as they occur.
Bad Order Bob
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