Dear Sisters and Brothers:

On July 30, 2009, the Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance (ODAPC) published a Final Rule in the Federal Register which restores mandatory direct observation (DO) collections for all return-to-duty and follow-up testing. This DO drug testing rule is applicable to return-to-duty, safety-sensitive transportation industry employees who have already failed or refused to take a prior drug test. The start date for mandatory DO return-to-duty and follow-up testing was August 31, 2009. Any employee who is required to submit to return-to-duty and follow-up tests on or after the effective date must now have their collections observed. This includes employees currently in follow-up testing programs who were still in those programs on and after August 31st.

As with other DOT Direct Observation collections conducted since August 1998, DOT return-to-duty and follow-up drug testing will now require that a same gender observer check for prosthetic and other devices that can be used to cheat a drug test. This is in addition to the observer’s subsequently watching the employee urinate into the collection container. This provision had been stayed by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; however, that stay was lifted on July 1, 2009 following the Court’s unanimous decision to uphold the Department’s position in this matter. This amendment, therefore, restores the language of 49 CFR 40.67(b) to the version that became a final rule on June 25, 2008.

The Department of Labor recently proposed to extend the time in which it allows LM-30 filers to use either the 2007 revised Form or the pre-2007 Form until November 30, 2011. The DOL will formally rule on this following the comment period which expires on November 2, 2009.

The deadline for applying for the Union Plus Scholarship is January 31, 2010. This scholarship is available to the child dependents of members of IBEW members and other AFL-CIO affiliate unions. The application for the Union Plus Scholarship can be accessed online at:

  • July 2009
  • On July 13th – 15th, 2009, the System Council staff and I attended the 2009 IBEW Railroad Conference in Chicago, Illinois.
  • On the dates of July 16th & 17th, IBEW Railroad Director Bohne, VGC Perry, AGC Shell, myself, and BRS representatives met jointly with various Union Pacific personnel to discuss the Carrier’s plans for installation and implementation of Positive Train Control throughout the system.
  • During the week of July 28th, I attended the IBEW Seventh District Progress meeting in Oklahoma City.
  • August 2009
  • On August 4th, 2009, the System Council staff, together with IAM General Chairmen Don Hall and Rich Nadeau met in Omaha with Union Pacific Labor Relations and General Director Locomotive John Estes to discuss on-going training issues and the use of Certified Training Instructors. We also attended an overview presentation concerning the Carrier’s iTrakForce/IVRjob bulletin and assignment system.
  • On August 10th, the System Council staff together with IBEW International Representative Fernando Huerta met with Union Pacific Labor Relations in Omaha to further discuss the territory and work involved regarding wayside installation for the Positive Train Control project. The System Council staff later met with Telecom Director Neal Spencer to discuss the ongoing issues within the IT Department.
  • On August 30th & 31st, Vice Chairman Pat Perry toured the Union Pacific South Morrill, Nebraska facility and met with local management to discuss outstanding issues at that location.


  • September 2009
  • On September 1st, 2009, Vice Chairman Perry met with Local Union 1920 President Rick Morris and Local Chairman Dave Hunt in North Platte, Nebraska.
  • During the week of September 1st, AGC Shell and I met with the officers and committeemen of North Little Rock Local 807. During this period, we toured the Jenks facility and met with local management, and later toured the Marion, Arkansas Intermodal and Memphis Locomotive facilities.
  • I attended Fort Worth Local 942 union meeting on September 14th, and on September 18th, met with Local 942 Local Chairman Rex Davis to discuss matters concerning the members at Fort Worth.
  • On September 17th & 18th, AGC Shell assisted Houston Local 1814 with several disciplinary investigations. Also, during September, AGC Tortorice assisted Los Angeles Local 889 with disciplinary matters and investigation.
  • On the dates of September 22nd & 23rd, AGC Tortorice met in Salt Lake City with the members and officers of Local 650 to discuss the recent assignment of electrical forces at the Salt Lake Intermodal facility.
  • On September 24th & 25th, VGC Perry and I attended the annual National Association of Railroad Referee meeting in Chicago, IL.
  • On the date of September 29th, AGC Tortorice and I attended a meeting with Union Pacific for all non-operating craft General Chairmen. The meeting included discussions concerning the Carrier’s financial condition; EAP/Peer Support; iTrakForce Demonstration, and; an overview of the Engineering and Mechanical departments. With regard to the Mechanical Department, it was discussed that approximately 20% of the Carrier’s locomotive fleet remain in storage with 7-Day car loading totals down to 150,000 compared to 180,000 in the previous years with no plans to purchase new locomotives in 2010.

On September 30th, AGC Tortorice and I attended the Union Pacific General Chairman’s Association meeting which included presentations by Union Pacific Executive Vice President of Operations Dennis Duffy, and Director EEO Beth Kirschbaum.

In addition to assisting the local unions with various issues and concerns throughout the third quarter, the System Council staff has been busy progressing outstanding claims and discipline appeals. At this point, we are finalizing cases with the Union Pacific and Kansas City Southern which will be docketed for arbitration before Public Law Board’s 7001 and 7160. I anticipate that these cases will be heard sometime in early 2010. I will keep the appropriate local unions and/or claimant’s apprised of the board dates as they are confirmed.

Please find hereto attached the following which can be disseminated and/or posted:

  1. RRB Labor Member Speakman’s letter – July 2009 publication;
  2. RRB Labor Member Speakman’s letter – August 2009 publication;
  3. RRB Labor Member Speakman’s letter – September 2009 publication;
  4. RRB Scheduled Informational Conferences dated September 1, 2009;
  5. RRB job vacancy list dated September 1, 2009;
  6. Federal Register – final rule concerning Direct Observation drug testingThird Quarter 2009-attachments

With best wishes, I am

Fraternally yours,

Jim Wisniski
General Chairman


Cc:      IVP’s System Council 2

Bill Bohne, Director of Railroads

Pat Perry, VGC SC2