Local Officer's Actions Help Member Triumph
In a recent ruling by OSHA, Union Pacific Railroad was found guilty of violating the Federal Railroad Safety Act and instructed to pay Conductor Todd Krekovich $10,000 in punitive damages and $2500 in compensatory damages.
The ruling stemmed from an incident on November 20, 2015. Conductor Krekovich and Engineer Fletcher had boarded a train in North Platte and were preparing to depart for Cheyenne, Wyoming, when they noticed that neither of the seats on the lead locomotive met Federal safety standards.
They reported the defective seats, both of which had a severe measure of wobble, to management, but were instructed to take the train “as is.” The crew declined, and were pulled from the train by management and taken to the superintendent’s office for questioning.
As soon as management told him that he was being pulled from the train, Brother Krekovich called his Union Representative, Vice Local Chairman Vince Gill, and requested assistance. Vice Chairman Gill responded immediately and was confronting management, in person, at the superintendent’s office just 16 minutes after receiving the call.
In an interview, Vice Chairman Gill said that lower management instructed him and the crew to leave the property immediately. He refused and insisted upon speaking with a senior manager. After discussing the matter with DTO Jeff Everetts, Vice Chairman Gill met with Conductor Krekovich off property and thoroughly documented the entire event. He also contacted Local Chairman Don Isabell, who was out of town at the time of the incident, and brought him up to speed.
Over the course of the next few days, Local Chairman Isabell was able to persuade the superintendent to drop all charges, place Brother Krekovich back in service and compensate him for all lost time.
The General Committee is extremely proud of Brother Krekovich and his willingness to stand and fight for what was right. Additionally, the quick actions taken by Vice Local Chairman Vince Gill as well as the negotiating skills and tactics of Local Chairman Don Isabell must also be commended. Their combined efforts helped to ensure a victorious OSHA award and no lost earnings for Brother Krekovich.