UNION BROTHERHOOD AND THE FELA—-Why are They Important?
The labor movement in the United States grew out of the need to protect the common interests of the worker. The history of the labor movement and formation of unions date back centuries. Through this movement, unions have successfully fought for improvement in wages, benefits, workplace safety and hours worked. SMART has carried on this tradition and continues the fight to improve wages and safety, which are vital to your economic security and health in what can be a dangerous workplace.
Like the labor movement, the Federal Employers Liability Act, or FELA, was passed into law in 1908, and signaled a huge victory for labor to force the RR’s to provide a safe workplace and procedures, tools and equipment. The FELA has been hugely successful in creating overall safety improvements and innovation to benefit the workers. The FELA forces the RRs to maintain and improve safety by attacking their financial interests through individual claims for compensation when the RR is negligent.
FELA cases are made on an individual basis, meaning the worker sues the RR directly for compensation. To be successful, the injured worker must prove his or her case though the evidence showing the RR was negligent. Often this involves securing the testimony of eye witnesses, or other union members who have knowledge of the unsafe condition, poor work procedures or defective equipment. Testimony from your fellow crew members, union safety officials and your co-workers are vital and essential to mounting a successful case.
Like the labor movement, standing up for your fellow workers and providing truthful testimony about unsafe conditions is critical to the claim and overall safety of the railroad. The law protects your right to speak out without fear of retaliation. If you are ever hurt on the job, you will want to know your union brothers and sisters will have your back.
No one wants to be injured or miss time from work due to injury or other health-related conditions. The ablity to have the peace of mind to know that if you are hurt on the job or are too sick to work for a longer period of time you and your family will be protected financially is huge. Your SMART union offers a variety of short and long term disability policies designed just for that purpose – to provide you a steady income when you are sick or injured and unable to work. The RR industry can be a tough place to work, it places huge stress on your body that often can result in significant time and wage loss. Protect yourself and your family with the purchase of a well-designed disability policy to create a safety net and enjoy peace of mind.
The origins of the designated legal counsel program also go back 70 years and were borne out of the need to the injured worker with experienced and skillful legal counsel to help fight well-resourced RR’s. Just like the labor movement itself and FELA, this program has provided enormous benefit to the injured worker and their families. For decades, DLC has fought and won tremendous victories and compensation for their clients. Rossi Vucinovich has been DLC for over 50 years. Jim Vucinovich, president of Rossi Vucinovich, is a FELA Trial Lawyer and current DLC.
We provide FREE and confidential advice to our fellow SMART union members. Call us today about your questions regarding injuries on or off the job as we also offer legal services in major personal injury, wrongful death cases and brain injury cases.
Jim Vucinovich, Designated Legal Counsel
Rossi Vucinovich PC
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