The lawyer who last month filed one of the first lawsuits in a case like this in Texas said this practice is another example of how the railroads keep the pressure on train crews to remain on call 24-7 while making them afraid to take unpaid time off they’re supposed to get under the Family Medical Leave Act.
Now that the Texas case is moving forward in the courts, the lawyer, Nick Thompson, said he plans to look into the claims of several other UP employees who have contacted him with similar concerns that could turn into additional lawsuits.
Hm potential class action suit?
“Ultimately, this has the effect Union Pacific wants: It scares people from using FMLA,” Thompson said.
Omaha, Nebraska-based Union Pacific says it didn’t do anything wrong when it fired De’Ron Rutledge because railroad managers believed he was abusing the medical leave rules by repeatedly taking time off as he was recovering from a back injury he suffered on the job.
This whole situation might be less of a problem if employees had paid sick time, but the railroads have only started to address that concern in recent months through agreements giving some of their unions four days of paid sick time. But so far, most of the conductors and all of the engineers who work in locomotives — representing more than half of all rail workers — still don’t have sick time. And those train crews have the most-demanding, unpredictable schedules.
“I just don’t think it’s reasonable to have people on call 24-7, 365 days a year, including holidays and give them no sick days," Thompson said.
JCS:“WIMPS!” “Shareholder Value!”
It would seem the congressional imposed railroad labor settlement was tilted toward management’s favor. I’m SHOCKED!