In Emergency Relief Docket (FRA-2020-0002) for COVID-19, the Federal Railroad Administration activated the provisions of 49 CFR 211.45 which grants wide latitude in waiving regulations including the safety and wellbeing of railroad workers. FRA specifies that “With certain exceptions…the relief granted in this letter is generally conditioned on the existence of workforce shortages and other constraints as a direct result of the impacts of the COVID-Pandemic, preventing individual railroads from timely completing all Federally-mandated railroad safety tests and inspections, or other requirements.”
In a letter dated April 9, 2020, Rail Labor noted over the past several years that several freight railroads furloughed thousands of highly qualified employees across all crafts. In a unified voice, Rail Labor called on the FRA to require that any furloughed employees are recalled before any waiver based on workforce shortages are granted.
READ ENTIRE LETTER HERE — Rail Labor Letter to FRA — COVID-19