October 17, 2001

WASHINGTON (Oct. 17)–A critical moment is approaching for Railroad Retirement reform legislation.

Next Tuesday, October 23, members of the U.S. Senate will meet with their respective party leaders to decide which pieces of legislation will be voted on in the few remaining days of the 2001 session.

Will the Railroad Retirement and Survivors Improvement Act, H.R. 1140/S. 697, be among them?

That’s up to you, says UTU National Legislative Director James Brunkenhoefer. If enough members reach out to their senators and ask that H.R. 1140/S. 697 be brought up for a vote, the bill will be acted upon.

That’s why Brother Brunkenhoefer has issued a call for UTU members to call, fax or e-mail their U.S. Senators now. He suggests that UTU members in Illinois send the following four-point message to Senators Richard J. Durbin and Peter Fitzgerald:

1. All of us who keep the nation’s railroads moving support your efforts to fight terrorism. We are with you all the way.

2. We all understand that the business of America must go on or the terrorists will have won a victory. As you and your colleagues return to the nation’s business, please ask your party’s leadership at next Tuesday’s luncheon to schedule Railroad Retirement reform for a vote on the Senate floor DURING THE CURRENT SESSION.

3. Thousands of widows and widowers anxiously await Senate action on a bill that passed the House 384-33 and has 75 Senate co-sponsors. And even more thousands of railroad workers know that H.R. 1140/. 697 will mean better benefits and more effective investing of their precious contributions.

4. Thanks again for your help. We will not forget!

“The most effective form of outreach is a phone call,” said UTU Illinois Legislative Director Joseph C. Szabo. “Faxes and e-mails also are effective. Unfortunately in this case, letters are too slow to make much of a difference by next Tuesday.”

Sen. Fitzgerald’s downtown Chicago phone number is (312) 886-3506. Faxed letters should be directed to the same office at (312) 886-3514. E-mailed appeals should be directed to senator_fitzgerald@fitzgerald.senate.gov. Downstate members can telephone Sen. Fitzgerald’s staff at his Springfield office (217) 492-5089, or in Glen Carbon, near St. Louis, at (618) 692-0364, or Dixon, at (815) 288-3140. Faxes may be sent to the Chicago office at (312) 886-3514; the Springfield office at (217) 492-5099; the Glen Carbon office at (618) 692-1499; or the Dixon office at (815) 288-3147.

Sen. Durbin’s Chicago office can be reached by phone at (312) 353-4952. He also maintains an office in Marion (618)998-8812, and in Springfield (217) 492-4062. The Chicago fax number is (312) 0150; the Marion fax is (618) 997-0176, and the Springfield fax is (217) 492-4382. Sen. Durbin’s e-mail address is dick@durbin.senate.gov.