WASHINGTON, April 28, 2022 – Matt Hollis, National Vice President and Special Assistant to the President for Transportation Communications Union (TCU/IAM), testified before the Surface Transportation Board on Wednesday, April 27, 2022. Hollis testified on behalf of the IAM Rail Union to address urgent issues in the freight rail service. Other speakers included U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Deputy Agriculture Secretary Dr. Jewel H. Bronaugh, and Commissioner Carl W. Bentzel of the Federal Maritime Commission.
The testimony highlighted three specific crafts in the rail industry that reveal the impact of Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR) on the workforce and current issues with freight rail service.
“From my position at TCU/IAM, I have had a front-row seat to the complete and utter degradation of our nation’s Class 1 railroads over the past six to seven years,” said Hollis. “I’ve watched as private equity firms have acquired controlling stakes in railroads only to use their power to deploy business models that extract as much wealth as possible, to the detriment of the railroads’ workers, their customers, and ultimately, the public interest. The Class 1 railroads have deployed their variations of the Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR) business model – a misnomer, as any real railroader would tell you that PSR is neither precise nor well-scheduled and hardly resembles what they would call ‘railroading.’ A more accurate description would be doing ‘less with less’ – or moving fewer carloads with drastically fewer employees.”
The Transportation Communications Union (TCU/IAM) represents approximately 46,000 members in the U.S., most employed in the railroad industry.
IAM District 19 represents 11,000 active machinists across the country at every Class 1 commuter railroad, Amtrak and others. Members primarily maintain and repair locomotives and track maintenance equipment both in shops and on the line of road. They also perform complete overhauls of locomotives and many assemblies and sub-assemblies used in all aspects of railroading.
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) is one of the largest and most diverse industrial trade unions in North America, representing approximately 600,000 active and retired members in the aerospace, defense, airlines, railroad, manufacturing, transit, healthcare, automotive and other industries.