April 9, 2014

Springfield, IL. (Apr. 9)—A resolution urging Congress to pass HR 3040, which would mandate two-person crews on all freight trains, has passed the Illinois Senate by a vote of 39-12.

The measure, known as Senate Joint Resolution 50, has now moved to the House.

“The House vote on SJR50 could come as early as this Friday, and we need every SMART-TD member in Illinois to reach out to his or her State Representative to ask them to support SJR50,” said Illinois Legislative Director Robert W. Guy.

“Phone calls from SMART-TD members, from their families and from members of other unions are critical to assuring a yes vote on this important resolution,” he said.

Designed as a resolution rather than a bill, the language of SJR50 is structured to communicate to Congress the sentiment of the Illinois General Assembly that federal legislation is needed to assure that all freight trains have at least two certified crew members, a conductor and an engineer.

“Only the Congress of the United States has the authority to legislate a two-person crew law covering all freight trains nationwide,” Guy said. “The states cannot make that happen, but they can communicate their support of such a measure to Congress, and Congress historically relies on such state advisories in developing its own legislative agenda.

“The Illinois General Assembly’s support and recommendation for Congress to pass HR 3040 would be powerful and influential, given Illinois’ status as the rail hub of the nation,” Guy said. “Polling has shown public support for multiple crew members on freight trains.”

Guy said phone calls remain the most effective way for voters to communicate their views to their state representatives.

“Your state rep has both a Springfield office and a district office, and the phone numbers for both are listed in the ‘Legislative Lookup’ link on our Web site at www.illini.utu.org,” he said. “All you have to do is enter your ZIP Code and the site will show you the name of your representative and the phone numbers for both offices.”

Guy said making phone calls to legislators is quick and simple.

“When you call, just tell the person who answers the phone your name and that you are a SMART-TD member calling to urge the representative to vote ‘Yes’ on SJR 50,” Guy said
Guy said messages should be kept short.

“Do not bring up other issues,” he said. “Simply ask for support for SJR50.

“What’s needed now is grass-roots support from our members and their families,” Guy said. “Legislators are very interested in what their constituents are thinking, because they need their constituents’ votes to keep their jobs and stay in office. And they have a high respect for SMART-TD because our members take such an active role in the legislative process.

“So make that call now.” he said. “Our legislators are waiting to hear from us.”

If you have trouble identifying your State Representative or need any other assistance please call our office at (312 236-5353.