Richmond, VA -- Sheet Metal Air Rail and Transportation (SMART) union members stood together in solidarity in support of Delegate Steve Heretick (D-79)'s H.B. 440 - "railroads freight train crew size requirements, civil penalty" during the House Labor and Commerce Committee meeting today.
[Pictured left to right: (1) SMART members standing in solidarity during the bill hearing; (2) SMART member taking stride after presenting his own personal narrative and experience on trains -- emphasizing the importance on passing the bill; (3) Ronnie Hobbes, Virginia Legislative Director- SMART UTU testifying on behalf of Virginia's SMART members urging the committee to vote in support of the bill.]
The legislation "requires a train or light engine used in connection with the movement of railroad freight in the Commonwealth to operate with a crew of at least two individuals, unless such movement involves hostler service or utility employees in yard service. The State Corporation Commission shall have discretion to fine a person willfully violating this requirement an amount not to exceed $500 for a first offense and an amount not to exceed $1,000 for a second or subsequent offense. The measure has a delayed effective date of October 1, 2020."
The members of the Labor and Commerce Committee heard testimony from both supporters and opposition, but SMART union members seemed to have "trained" them well on the education and importance of jobs safety when it comes to railroad operations because they prevailed and H.B. 440 passed with a party line vote count of 13-8.
Congratulations to members of SMART on collecting a labor win!