BNSF says SAFETY is their #1 Priority – BUT IS IT???
BNSF says it wants to “modernize” the BMWED Safety Agreement by reducing the current 43 BMWED appointed Safety Assistant and Bridge Worker Safety Facilitator positions to a maximum of 19 bridge and track positions. And, it wants to control who is assigned to the remaining 19 Safety Assistant/Bridge Safety Worker positions. (management pick).
As you may know, the BMWED/BNSF Safety Agreement has been in place since 1997. Under the Agreement BNSF has achieved the best Safety record in the history of the Company for BMWED Members. That means more and more of us go home every day safe and in one piece. Now, BNSF wants to do away with that success and go back to the “old way.”
Before the Agreement, Management blamed the employees for every injury and disciplined any employee who reported an injury. Before the Agreement, no BMWE Member would participate in any Safety position or program until/unless our participation was covered by an Agreement. Together with hard work and Solidarity, we reached a Safety Agreement bringing BMWED Members back into an employee based safety program, by written Agreement! Now, 20 plus years later BNSF wants to go backwards, in the name of “modernizing.”
Our current Safety Assistants and Bridge Worker Safety Facilitators work closely with BMWED Membership to ensure we are all following the required safety procedures, they help us get answers to safety questions, get required PPE, get required safety training, ensuring the safety training records are accurate, they help us understand all the elements of audits so we keep everything up to date, and, they give us an opportunity to share safety concerns with a trusted “one of our own” not just another Company Officer.