CAVEAT OPPUGNATOR!

Strength, Unity, Forward Thinking

                              Published in today’s Federal Register is a Department of Transportation Final Rule:

 

Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs

 

The following is a summary of the Final Rule:

 

1)      The Department is required by the Omnibus Transportation Employees Testing Act (Omnibus Act) to follow the HHS requirements for the testing procedures/protocols and drugs for which we test.

 

2)      Primary laboratory requirements in this final rule include:

 

            - Testing for MDMA (aka. Ecstasy);

            - Lowering cutoff levels for cocaine and amphetamines;

            - Conducting mandatory initial testing for heroin;

 

3)      The Department brought several testing definitions in-line with those of HHS.

 

4)      Each Medical Review Officer (MRO) will need to be re-qualified – including passing an examination given by an MRO training organization - every five years.  The Final Rule eliminated the requirement for each MRO to take 12 hours of continuing education every three years.

 

5)      An MRO will not need to be trained by an HHS-approved MRO training organization as long as the MRO meets DOT’s qualification and requalification training requirements.

 

6)      MRO recordkeeping requirements did not change from the five years for non-negatives and one year for negatives.

 

7)      The Final Rule does not allow the use of HHS-Certified Instrumented Initial Testing Facilities (IITFs) to conduct initial drug testing because the Omnibus Act requires laboratories to be able to perform both initial and confirmation testing but IITFs cannot conduct confirmation testing.

 

8)      The Final Rule is effective October 1, 2010.

 

You can view the Final Rule at the Federal Register’s website:  http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-20095.pdf.

The document will also be available on the ODAPC website later today at http://www.dot.gov/ost/dapc.

 

Jim L. Swart

Director

Office of Drug and Alcohol

  Policy and Compliance

 

Many changes have taken place recently in Columbus that affects our way of doing business.  Some can be perceived as positive and some as negative.  Coordination between the UTU and BLET seems to be improving. We also have a new Terminal Manager, Jamie Berry, who is the son of our former Road Foreman Tom Berry. Many of us had the pleasure to know Tom Berry and we can only hope that dealings with Jamie will be as productive. It is early, but I am optimistic that a positive relationship will develop. 

 

Also on a positive note, I had the privilege of representing Division 34 on Friday, June 13 at a meeting in Cleveland. The meeting consisted of myself and 6 other Local Chairman in the Northern Rail Lines General Committee, as well as some National Division officers and our 3 General Chairman.  The tone of the meeting was not what I had hoped for and due to time restraints I was only able to discuss issues as they pertained to our Constitution and By-Laws.  All Local Chairman that were present had serious issues with our General Committee and had been very vocal to that effect. We were all able to air grievances and begin to re-build a foundation that will better serve our membership.  I have already seen progress within the General Committee Office that leaves me hopeful for the future.

 

Some negative changes we have seen is discipline is once again the "flavor of the month".  With the implementation of the new rules that are considered "Major Rules Violations", nearly everything could be a major violation.  Many still fail to realize the seriousness of these issues. Let me make one thing clear CSX does not care how reliable you have been in the past. CSX does not care how long you have been on the railroad.  CSX does not care that Columbus Terminal has gone almost 600 days injury free.  CSX does not care how long you stay in the hotel.   CSX only cares when something goes wrong.  We are all 6 digit identification numbers who have work histories that will not serve to benefit us, only hurt us when we have done something wrong.  If you believe otherwise, you are absolutely delusional.  It appears that war is being waged on Columbus Terminal and we all need to look out for one another.

 

Unfortunately, the positive relationships we have built with Local Management will be tested and possibly broken.  Brother Scott would call this "collateral damage" and it is part of the plan.  It is not what we want, but it may become a necessity.  It may get worse before it gets better, so please call Dave Staten and discuss derail insurance with him before it is too late. When Brothers and Sisters get into trouble and do not have derail insurance, we are forced to compromise on situations where we normally would not.  This has caused some Brothers to be progressed through the discipline policy pre-maturely and has led to dismissals.  I have no problem asking for a leniency re-instatement, but it is falling on deaf ears.  If CSX will not recognize you for being THEIR biggest asset, I will gladly admit that you are MINE.

 

 You must know that most influence regarding discipline has been taken out of the hands of local management.  The decision is made by someone who does not know you and in my opinion doesnt care to know you.  It is all black and white. The grey area is fading.  We must make every attempt to be rules compliant. Many of you have taken a lot of pride in the great work you do and how productive you have been.  You must change gears from that train of thought. When you report for work, priority one needs to be staying out of trouble and following the rules.  Productivity is secondary and is merely a bonus when achieved.

 

I am by no means advising you to not do your jobs. I am imploring you to do it safely.  It is not your job to worry about when a train gets built. It is your job to use a break stick, watch shoves, tie down track and test the brakes.  If you for any reason are EVER asked to circumvent rules for the sake of production, you need to notify me IMMEDIATELY. 

 

Our resolve is going to be tested as it has before. We rose to the challenge and can do it once again.  Many always ask me how they can help out.  Get involved and look beyond yourself and look out for others.

 

Fraternally,

 

 

Jeffrey L. Murray

Local Chairman

 

"The most heroic word in all languages is revolution"

- Eugene V. Debs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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