February 15, 2008
While visiting locals and local officers this past couple of weeks, I was told that CSX had agreed to stop harassment of their employees. I certainly hope this is true, but choose to be a skeptic until proven otherwise. There is one thing for sure, a tiger can never change its stripes, and as long as there is a "Tiger" in CSX 's circus there will continue to be harassment and intimidation - after all it's the nature of the beast. Simply buying a tiger from another circus, where the tiger had always been in the attack mode, will not change the tiger's stripes and promises will not change the beast. The tiger will always be a danger to everyone until he has had all his teeth pulled and sent to the old folks tiger farm to live out the rest of his days. Which means everyone should continue to keep their guard up. You never know when the tiger will be set free to strike again.
You should know who the tiger is, but if you don't, here are two hints. He is not a Clemson Tiger and he is not the one with his picture on the Corn Flakes box.
I've been investigating a case where a trainee was injured and did not know his rights under the FELA. The trainee turned to a local attorney for help. Fortunately, that attorney contacted Michael and we ended up with the case as it will take real expertise to obtain full and fair compensation for this young man. It is important that trainees know their rights under the FELA. While the training agreements allow the carrier to fire a trainee for any reason during the specified time allowed by the agreement, this does not negate the trainee's rights under FELA. Moreover, the trainee should be informed of his or her rights under the FELA and how to handle a personal injury at every opportunity.
If you would like to have one of our attorneys or investigators attend a meeting at your local to explain FELA to your members, old and new, you can call me at 706-589-6013, call Amy in our office at 1-888-879-7300, or email me firstname.lastname@example.org or through our website, www.warlawgroup.com.
This note will be on georgiafela.com for everyone to read. No, georgiafela.com does not mean that our firm, the Warshauer Law Group, is only active in Georgia. You will soon see links from SC, TN, KY, NC and AL, which will take you to the same site. We represent men and women everywhere we are needed. We also represent clients all over the USA who need our services to protect their families in time of need.
Keep up the good fight.
January 15, 2008:
As I have traveled from local to local, I have been confronted with questions regarding the “Safety Programs” and how the Railroad has taken credit for becoming a safer place to work.
The railroads claim to be safer places to work - which, is true in some respects. However, lets look at the real reason you have a safer place to work. That reason is simple - the FELA, the federal law that protects you when you are injured, is the best protection you have and the railroad’s primary reason for safety. Railroad unions protect the FELA through their legislative efforts, international offices, general chairmen and local officers. There is also another very big reason the railroads have a so-called safer place to work, and that reason is the Designated UTU FELA Attorneys who bring the railroads to their knees by filing suit for injured workers. When danger costs money, safety is the best way for a railroad to protect its bottom line.
Being back at work and visiting with several locals and talking with locals officers and members either in person or at a meeting, I've have learned that you guys have a much tougher job now than ever before. CSX has adopted the NS way of dealing with its employees - especially employees with injuries. It is important to report an injury ASAP no matter the severity. It is also important to understand the proper way of filling out an accident report. If you need help with the reports please feel free to call me and I will be happy to assist you and any other member with the report. I know you have been over this subject several times but I was surprised to learn that as a new group of employees starts work they have had so many new things being thrown their way, that learning the proper way to fill out an accident report has taken a back seat. It simply cannot be overemphasized that the employee states that he or she had “an unsafe place to work” when completing the form PI1A. Our brothers and sisters don’t get hurt in safe work places!
Reporting unsafe conditions also seems to be problem. Some members just make an oral report to the trainmaster or yardmaster and do not follow up with a written report to their local chairman and the railroad. Please make a written report to your local union officials and the carrier. Hoping that the railroads will take a completed form more seriously than just an oral complaint, our firm has provided many locals with a form that contains space for all the necessary information. For a copy of the form click here. If you can’t download the form, we will be glad to send you all the copies you need – just call me or give Amy in Michael’s office a call.
In helping numerous workers fight off unjustified charges, I have learned that when a worker has been charged with a rule violation and invited to an investigation he should be sure not to admit to a rule violation. This especially true where the employee has been charged as a result of an injury. An investigation is supposed to be a fair and impartial fact finding event, but over the years I have become convinced that the real purpose is to discourage the reporting of injuries and intimidate and harass those who do file injury reports. When the conducting officer asks "did you violate a certain rule", the answer lies in the transcript of the investigation and should always be answered "LET THE RECORD SPEAK FOR ITSELF”. These transcripts are often used in court, so it is important to keep that in mind when they are being created.
Don’t be afraid to report an injury or to hire attorney to represent you. The railroad will have you believe that reporting an injury and hiring an attorney will get you fired. In fact, in most cases the opposite is true. Once you have hired an attorney you will have a better chance of being protected from harassment and intimidation.
I’ll be updating this page regularly with information that I believe will be helpful to you as a railroader.
Most all designated UTU FELA Attorneys work hard to ensure your rights are protected when injured and you help you recover a sizeable amount of money. I work for the hardest working Designated UTU FELA Attorney I know. I know that Michael Warshauer will work hard for you also, should the occasion ever arise.