Progress Through Unity

Legionnaire’s Disease Concerns

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2018 Mileage Rate

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The Republican tax bill would result in millions in dollars of cuts to the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund

The Republican tax bill would result in millions in dollars of cuts to the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and take funds away from out-of-work employees. Tell your senators and representatives to VOTE NO.

Next week, the House and Senate are expected to vote on a tax bill that is expected to add $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion to the federal deficit in the form of corporate and individual tax cuts. According to estimates, the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund could lose as much as $9 million without any subsequent action by Congress under a 2010 budget process known as sequestration.

“Required spending reductions would significantly exceed the total resources available to be sequestered,” said Michele Neuendorf, an RRB labor member counsel, in an email. “This would have the practical result of a 100% sequestration of all non-exempt direct spending accounts including the funds from the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund which is used to pay unemployment and sickness benefits.”

Under the federal “Pay-As-You-Go” (PAYGO) Act of 2010, changes in federal spending are required to balance or offset any increases to the federal budget deficit (also known as sequestration). As a result, the tax bill would trigger automatic budget cuts across all federal programs including the RRB’s Railroad Unemployment Trust Fund, which is targeted for a 6.6 percent cut or approximately $9 million in the 2018 fiscal year by the administration.

“This tax proposal is Robin Hood caught in reverse,” said SMART Transportation Division National Legislative Director John Risch. “It would take from the poor and give to the rich. If the tax bill becomes law, the railroads will still be able to deduct money that they spend on union-busting lawyers while our members will no longer be able to deduct their union dues. The corporate tax rate for the big railroads will go from 35% to 21% while ours will stay the same with fewer deductions.”

It also means that $9 million intended for ailing and unemployed rail workers doesn’t go where it was supposed to. Instead it will go into the pockets of corporations and the well-to-do.

“Every person in America should be outraged that the Republican tax bill will borrow $1.5 trillion to $2.5 trillion to fund tax cuts for the wealthy while leaving no room for future federal investments toward infrastructure projects such as airports, transit systems, and passenger railroads,” Risch said. “I’ve been in the business of government policy since the 1980s and this is simply the worst tax proposal I have ever seen. Economists across the political spectrum are condemning this plan and the Republicans are so desperate for some sort of “win” they are moving forward with little to no transparency or accountability to their constituents.”

Time is running out. A vote is planned for next week. Call your senators and representatives and urge them to vote against the tax bill.

Find out who your members of Congress are by accessing the SMART-TD Legislative Action Center by clicking here or call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.


By-Laws For Vote

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Meeting Dates for 2018

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General Chairman’s Report December 2017

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Railmen for Children train ride
A train leaves Hoboken en route to Newark, picking up students from different schools along the way. They’re all ready to meet Santa Claus and, of course, get some presents.Railmen for Children is the organization behind the group of conductors, engineers and other NJ Transit employees who decided in 1983 to give back with the extra money they collected on the train.

All are volunteers, including a retiree who helped found the organization and who also served as one of its first Santas.

“We wanted to take the kids that weren’t going to have a Christmas a ride from Hoboken. We started and now we get kids from all over,” said Joseph Phalon, co-founder and retired NJ Transit conductor.

The 2017 Santa Claus is actually his son, who says many of the 300 plus students on the trip have special needs or are from underprivileged homes.

“We buy them whatever they want. They write down a list and we go out and by all the stuff for them, wrap everything, put it on the train,” said Michael Phalon, Santa Claus and NJ Transit conductor, who has participated in the special event for the past 29 years.

Moving from car to car, you meet students and teachers from different schools.

“They come from all over Essex County and they’re in a program called Transition Center. We do community-based instruction so they’re out, they’re learning how to travel, they have bank accounts,” said Marianna Caballo, teacher at Essex Regional School in Newark.

Jilah, one student on the train, said, “For Christmas, I want new clothes and an Amazon gift card.”

Another student, Monique, said, “I have fun and I make my teacher proud.”

“It makes my heart melt. I love these kids, and like I said, I’ve been working with them for a while and they need us as much as I need them in my life. So, it was good to be able to celebrate the holidays with them,” said Michelle Brewer, also a teacher at Essex Regional School.

As the presents are handed out, noise and excitement fill the air.

One little Islander fan, Matt, was happy to get some hockey cards.

He said, “I don’t celebrate Christmas, I celebrate Hannukah, but I got a gift so it’s good.”

Riding through New Jersey and spreading some holiday cheer.

NJT Policy 3.31 Workplace Violence Prevention Policy

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SMART-TD State Legislative Rep Ron Sabol Picked to Governor Phil Murphy’s Transportation and Infrastructure Transition Team

Governor-elect names full slate of members for transition committees

Governor-elect Phil Murphy has announced memberships to his transition committees, naming more than 500 people who will make recommendations on state policy, issues and initiatives as the new administration prepares to take office in two months. Earlier this week he announced transition committee leadership positions.

Several Princeton area residents were appointed to committees, including Princeton lawyer Paul Josephson, Jess Niederer of Chickadee Creek Farm, Steve Jany of Rustin Farms, and former Trenton mayor Doug Palmer.

“New Jersey needs an administration ready to hit the ground running in January, and through the work of the transition committees my administration will not take office blind to the challenges and opportunities before us,” said Murphy in a statement about the appointments. “I am grateful to everyone who accepted the call to serve our transition. From analyzing and prescribing policy to taking a fresh look at the basic organization of government, these committees have a lot of work to do. I am confident they will put my administration in a position to begin delivering results for the people of New Jersey from day one.”

The committees will meet throughout the state over the course of the next two months and will then submit reports and recommendations to the governor-elect and his leadership team prior to the inauguration.

Transportation and Infrastructure

Anthony Attanasio, Utility and Transportation Contractors Association of NJ; Janine Bauer, Szaferman Lakind; Scott Braen, Braen Stone Industries; Jon Carnegie, Voorhees Transportation Institute; Janna Chernetz, Tri-State Transportation Campaign; Jim Cobb, New York Shipping Association; Dan Dagget, International Longshoremen’s Association Atlantic Coast Council; Larry English, AirRail; Joe Fiordaliso, New Jersey Department of Transportation; Mike Fischette, Concord Engineering; Kelly Ganges, Office of County Executive Brian Hughes; Ray Greaves, Amalgamated Transit Union State Council; George Helmy, Office of Senator Cory Booker; Woody Knopf, Knopf Automotive; Kris Kolluri, Former New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner; Jerome LaFroglia, Transport Workers Union; Jamie LeFrak, LeFrak Organization; Ian Leonard, IBEW Construction; Cathleen Lewis, AAA; Bob Medina, Medina 43 Business Strategies; Frank Minor, Mayor of Logan Township; Sami Naim, Lyft; Paul Nunziato, Port Authority Policeman’s Benevolent Association; Atilla Pak, ASTM Consulting Engineering, LLC; Jason Post, Uber; Fred Potter, Teamsters 469; Ronald Rios, Middlesex County Freeholder; Tim Rudolph, IFPTE State Council; Ron Sabol, SMART; Bob Salmon, Former Inspector General at the Department of Transportation; George Schnurr, Freehold Council President; Monica Slater Stokes, United Airlines; Revered Ronald Slaughter, St. James AME Church; Mike Soliman, Mercury, LLC; Bill Sumas; Joe Taylor, Matrix Development Group; Gary Toth, former Project Manager at the Department of Transportation; Mike Travostino, Associated Construction Contractors of New Jersey; Jan Walden, Former New Jersey Transit Executive; Aaron Watson, Mercer County Park Commission; Woody Weldon, Weldon Materials, Inc; Tom Wright, RPA.

General Chairman’s Report November 2017

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