April 25, 2010

CHICAGO (April 25)—The UTU Illinois Legislative Board urges all members to contact their respective state senators immediately and ask them to vote “Yes” on House Bill 4987.

“HB 4987 should be called up for a vote soon,” said UTU Illinois Legislative Director Robert W. Guy. “It’s important that every UTU member reach out to his or her state senator and ask for a ‘Yes’ vote on HB 4987.”

Guy called HB 4987 “critically important to the safety and well-being of our members.”

“HB 4987 is the so-called ‘anti-prank bill.” Guy said. “It would make it a felony punishable by fine and possible imprisonment for anyone who places an object on or adjacent to a railroad track in such a way as to provoke a train crew into taking emergency action and adversely affecting safe railroad operations.”

Guy said in the past, pranksters and vandals could be punished only if their actions resulted in bodily injury or property damage.

“But if HB 4987 passes, the offender could be punished just for causing an emergency stop,” he said. “We want this bill passed in order to end the trauma our members suffer while waiting to learn weather their train might have killed or injured a human being.”

Guy said the most effective way to contact a state senator is to make a brief phone call to his or her office in Springfield.

“Keep phone calls short,” he said. “As soon as the phone is answered, give your name and tell the person who answered that you’re a UTU member and you want to ask your senator to vote ‘Yes’ on HB 4987.”

Guy said members who don’t know the name of their state senators can identify them easily by using the “Legislator Lookup” link in the left-hand column of the Illinois Legislative Board home page, or reference the UTU Legislative Directory that each member has been issued.

Guy said the quickest and usually most effective form of contact is a phone call either to the senator’s office in Springfield or the home district. Faxes and e-mails also are useful, but phone calls seem to generate the most impact. All messages should be kept short, and all should include your name and union affiliation.

“Stating your name is a courtesy, while identifying yourself as a UTU member shows you’re part of an organized outreach effort.” Guy said, noting that disclosing oneself as a union member is a critical element in getting your message through.

“The strength of our union—and the strength of each of its members—is reinforced every time we remind a legislator that we follow the issues, that we are organized and that we act together,” he said. “They get that message.

“Solidarity is the source of our power, and our power is the source of our effectiveness,” Guy said. “When we act together we achieve our goals.”