First the good news. Railroad workers are starting to see some much-needed relief as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. The source is the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act. Now the hopeful news. Workers and legislators continue to demand for additional help from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The question is if the agency will provide it.
The CARES Act was signed into law By President Trump on March 27.. The Act provides for unemployment and sickness benefits for railroad workers impacted by the pandemic. For example, it:
- Eliminates the 1-week waiting period required before workers can receive unemployment or sickness benefits
- Increases the amount of the unemployment benefit by $1,200 per 2-week period
- Pays sickness benefits to rail workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been subject to a quarantine order.
Please see “Coronavirus Relief Act Impacts Railroad Workers” for more information.
Petitions for Relief
Unions, safety groups, and legislators have recently called upon the FRA for increased worker protection and waivers from certain regulated mandates. To date, the FRA has responded with little assistance. These efforts come after the FRA activated its Emergency Relief Docket (FRA-2020-0002) on March 13.
Please see the following documents for more information:
- Letter dated March 21, in response to the Emergency Relief Docket, written by Association of American Railroads (AAR), American Public Transportation Association (APTA), and American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA).
- Letter dated March 25, in response to the AAR, et al. petition, written by the FRA.
- Letter dated March 30, in response to the AAR, et al. petition, written by the FRA.
- Letter dated April 2, in response to the AAR, et al. petition, written by the FRA.
- Letter dated April 2, sent to the FRA, and written by Members of Congress
We understand these are difficult times for everyone, and especially recognize the hardships and anxiety that must be felt having to work on the front line as part of an essential service like the Railroad. The working environment is challenging in normal times and this added health concern can only make it more difficult. Rossi Vucinovich stands ready to assist you and your family.
Be well, stay safe.