Progress Through Unity

About Steve Burkert

General Chairman Burkert’s Weekly “HOT TOPICS” News

In an effort to better communicate information as quickly as possible to the Membership here is the ” HOT TOPICS” for this week.

 

A) Gas Mile Check computer issues have been resolved and actual checks have begun to be mailed out to Members earlier this week.

B) Our Local 60 meeting is this Saturday at 10AM in Linden at the VFW Hall adjacent to the train station. I have fielded numerous calls about the Local’s financial issues. I urge any member who has questions concerning dues refunds, insurance refunds or any other matter on money please come  to the meeting. The International Auditor will be at the meeting answering all the questions. I have no information on these accounts, they are the Local accounts not the General Committee account. Please come to the meeting and ask your questions directly to the auditor. I can not answer the question about whether your MONTHLY LOCAL DUES will go up, this is a question/answer for the meeting on Saturday.

C) The Carrier will be starting a new audit on submission of 1155 forms on a daily basis. Weekend crews along with weekday crews are required to submit the forms. Please list all mechanical defects and delays on the form and submit daily.

D) This past Monday I attended a morning meeting with Congressman Bill Pascrell in Saddlebrook. The Congressman is fully behind the effort to bring NJ Transit back to the #1 status in the nation. He has continually been by our side on issues that affect our Members.

E) Next week payroll time cards must be in box by 11:00 am Wednesday account Thanksgiving Holiday

Please email me feedback or suggestions, I am here for you the Members. sburkert@utulocal60.com

Fraternally,

Stephen J. Burkert

General Chairman

General Chairman Burkert’s Weekly “HOT TOPICS” News

In an effort to better communicate information as quickly as possible to the Membership here is the ” HOT TOPICS” for this week.

A) Phil Murphy is the winner in the NJ Governor race and is already investigating the proper course to bring NJ Transit back to the #1 railroad in the nation. Funding and proper leadership in key positions are his top priorities. I, along with Ron Sabol NJSLD were in attendance in Asbury, on Tuesday night, for his acceptance speech.

B) The Carrier has informed me, the GAS MILE computer issue is fixed. They will be working over the weekend to process our forms and are hopeful checks will be going out on Monday.

C) On Wednesday I represented 3 of our Members at their SPECIAL BOARD of ADJUSTMENT hearings. The hearings were conducted in front of an arbitrator from the NATIONAL MEDIATION BOARD. The decisions in these cases could take 120 days to be returned.

D) If you have not received a ballot as of today please call the Netcong office at 973-527-7018 to request a duplicate. If you have gotten a ballot please vote. Remember to place your return address on envelope and mail it asap.

E) There seems to be a misunderstanding about the SMART TD Green travel cards that were given out by Local 60 Treasurer Greg Taylor. The cards are to be used by the Local 60 Member when visiting other SMART TD property’s to identify yourself as a SMART TD Member. This card is not intended for any type of transportation allowance.

Please email me feedback or suggestions, I am here for you the Members. sburkert@utulocal60.com

Fraternally,

Stephen J. Burkert

General Chairman

General Chairman Burkert’s Weekly “HOT TOPICS” News

In an effort to better communicate information as quickly as possible to the Membership here is the ” HOT TOPICS” for this week.

A) I had an emergency meeting on Monday morning 10/30 to discuss the huge backlog of GAS MILEAGE that is owed to the Members. The issue is a new computer program that was recently purchased and put into use. The issue is NOT the clerks, but the new program being used at this time. The new program will take an entire sheet of entries but only give a grand total without an explanation. They are working on a solution to this issue but as of this report nothing in a positive light.

B) I have also been working on 3 separate cases that are going through Special Board of Adjustment next week. I need to have the written submissions done before meeting the arbitrator from the National Mediation Board. 

C) I have gone through all of the FAIL TO MEET SLIPS, from January through September 2017. The total number of tickets that were missed or not collected due to no Ticket Collectors, overcrowding or other issues was tallied as 146,625(approximate). The number is definitely “on the low side” for several reasons. The beginning of this year there was a shortage of forms for employees to submit. I also have forms filled out with date , train and why the tickets were not collected but, no passenger counts on the form. Lastly, I only get the last copy of the form and some numbers are not clear enough to post a number on how many tickets were missed or some forms were not sent to the Union office. The majority of forms list the reason as ” Ticket Collector was blanked” for why the tickets were not collected.  If I use $16.25 as an average ticket price, the 146,625 tickets not collected equal $2,382,656.20 in lost revenue in the last 9 months. This averages out to $264,739.57 per month or $3,176,874.80 per year. Again these numbers are, averages on the low side, but it is clear that blanking TICKET COLLECTORS is not the way operate.

D) I met with the Carrier again and discussed WORK RULES that need to be clarified, updated or abolished. Many of the items that are being discussed are things in our Green Book that has changed due to how we work, where we work, changes in service, changes in equipment or crew caller related issues.I will continue to meet with the Carrier in these discussions until such point as I can put out something for the membership to vote on.

E) Election Day is next Tuesday, November 7, please vote. I have several meetings set up in the next few days with elected officials to discuss issues that affect our members. I will continue to speak on your behalf to the officials who need further information about difficulties encountered while we perform our daily assignments.

Please email me feedback or suggestions, I am here for you the Members. sburkert@utulocal60.com

Fraternally,

Stephen J. Burkert

General Chairman

Local 60 Auditor’s Letter Concerning L60 Balance

Attention Members the letter below is for your information concerning our audit and the results of the audit. The phone number has been deleted due to HOS incursions. Please email any questions you may have on the audit.

Download (PDF, 145KB)

 

Fraternally,

Stephen J. Burkert

General Chairman

General Chairman Burkert’s Weekly “HOT TOPICS” News

In an effort to better communicate information as quickly as possible to the Membership here is the ” HOT TOPICS” for this week.

A) As a reminder ROLLOVER is this weekend, please check the assignment bulletin and the new train schedules.

B) The Carrier is having a major issue with GAS MILEAGE forms. A new computer system that was recently installed is having trouble analyzing the information on the forms for payment. Please retain all gas mile submissions, currently the Carrier is behind at least 4 months in payments. I have secured an emergency meeting with the Carrier for this coming Monday October 30, 2017 to discuss the issue. Details to follow.

C) I have attached a letter from the International Auditor concerning our Local 60 account balance. All expenses and salaries are on hold due to a negative account balance. This means that the election for LOCAL TREASURER  is also on hold until further information becomes available.

D) The Carrier has committed to the C3RS Program to complete “CORRECTIVE ACTIONS” that have been stalled for some time. The “CORRECTIVE ACTIONS” are such as CAR MARKER SIGNS on platforms or the proper instructions for “CLEARING TRAINS at FINAL TERMINAL”. The Carrier has pledged that CORRECTIVE ACTIONS  will no longer be prioritized by cost alone.

E) All ACTP/CTP Students please check your emails for correspondence concerning your DH and Gas Mileage issue. If you have not been contacted yet by a Union Officer please email sspratt@utulocal60.com  

Please email me feedback or suggestions, I am here for you the Members. sburkert@utulocal60.com

Fraternally,

Stephen J. Burkert

General Chairman

Download (PDF, 100KB)

General Chairman Burkert’s Weekly”HOT TOPICS” News

In an effort to better communicate information as quickly as possible to the Membership here is the ” HOT TOPICS” for this week.

A) As a reminder ROLLOVER and SCHEDULE CHANGE will happen next week. Please be aware of changes to your assignment or train schedules.

B) I want to thank all of the Members who reported to myself or other Officers about a blip on bank accounts for this week. Due to the early warning from Members I was able to contact the Carrier and the issue was resolved in time for pay-day.

C) I only received a hand full of emails from Members about the PINK AMNESTY GAS MILES that were not paid or only partially paid. If you have an issue or have not been paid please email me asap. I will be closing the time to file a grievance this week.

D) I attended a SMART sponsored event tonight in Kenilworth NJ to show our support for Democratic candidate for Governor Phil Murphy. I will be meeting with Phil Murphy to discuss pending issues that affect our Members. His next few weeks will be very busy but I can assure you in speaking with him, NJ Transit is a top priority on his agenda.

E) If any Member has the original copy of the Tariff Bulletin that prohibited our Members from asking for ID on the train for SENIORS/DISABLED wold you please email me at sburkert@utulocal60.com

F) I encourage all Members to please call the Crew Callers on Friday and make yourself available to work this weekend. STEEPLECHASE is Saturday, if you are available please come out and earn some extra holiday money. The Carrier has pledged to use all available Members who make themselves available.

Please email me feedback or suggestions, I am here for you the Members. sburkert@utulocal60.com

Fraternally,

Stephen J. Burkert

General Chairman

Letter from SMART TD on Local 60 Audit Results

Attention Members of Local 60, the following letter is from SMART TD in conclusion of the audit that was done on our Local finances. I have no further information then what is contained in the letter. If you have questions you can email me at sburkert@utulocal60.com I will try to answer your questions to the best of my ability at this time or get an answer from SMART TD.

Fraternally

Stephen J. Burkert

General Chairman

Download (PDF, 129KB)

 

General Chairman Burkert’s Weekly”HOT TOPICS” News

In an effort to better communicate information as quickly as possible to the Membership here is the ” HOT TOPICS” for this week.

 

A) On Wednesday I addressed the New Jersey Transit Board of Directors at their October monthly meeting. The first concern I brought to their attention was the OPEN DOOR POLICY which needs to be reevaluated based upon passenger counts and time of day of the train travel. The second concern was to remove the SENIOR/DISABLED Ticket from the NJT TVM machines to cut down on the abuse. The full text of my speech is listed on this webpage from yesterday.

B) FLAG JOBS – ALL MEMBERS must inform the Chief Dispatcher whether your assignment was COVERED SERVICE or UNCOVERED SERVICE at the end of your assignment. The Carrier will begin to list the assignment as COVERED SERVICE unless you indicate otherwise. Please comply with this instruction as it was a very long and tedious battle to get this work properly labelled again under HOS.

C) All crews who are operating on AMTRAK territory, during the low-level platform time please take note. AMTRAK locks on the gates use a #102 key, please have the correct key available to assist the passengers without causing undue delays.

D) All crews who experience a delay due to weather such as the leaves on tracks or morning ice must note it on their 1155 form. It is the same with mechanical delays, if you have a breakdown and it cause a delay list it on the 1155. WHEN YOU SUBMIT the 1155 everyday, as is required and the Carrier is checking them, if you do not list the reason for the delay it is labelled as a crew delay for unknown reasons. Please be very specific in why your train was delayed and then hand in your 1155 daily.

E) I also had multiple meetings this week with the Carrier over safety issues such as the low-level lighting at Rahway Station and other issues affecting Members. Ticket Collection onboard trains, especially on weekends, was discussed and debated on how to improve it. OJT assignments were again discussed and improvements made for better coverage.

Please email me feedback or suggestions, I am here for you the Members. sburkert@utulocal60.com

Fraternally,

Stephen J. Burkert

General Chairman

General Chairman Burkert’s Speech to NJT Board of Directors 10/11/17

Good Morning Chairman Hammer, Board Members, Executive Director Santoro and  NJT Staff.

 

I am Stephen J. Burkert , General Chairman of SMART TD Local 60 which represents the Conductors, Rear Brakes and Ticket Collectors that work here on our trains.

 

I would like to discuss 2 items that merit attention from this board.

 

The first has to do with New Jersey Transit’s “OPEN DOOR POLICY”.  It states that ALL DOORS must be open on ALL COACHES at ALL TIMES.This statement looks good on paper but is not practical even during rush hour. The platforms in NY Penn Station are not all straight lines, some are curved not only on the ends but, on the higher tracks, closer to the middle of the train set. These curves leave gaps between the train and platform. I have witnessed passengers leaping over 24 inch gaps after doors were ordered to be open. We also have trains that are longer than the length of the platform. Some doors that are in the middle of the train but within feet of stairs actually cause more of a bottleneck on the platform. Passengers will stand in the doorway looking for a seat thus totally blocking the door and the platform itself plus the stairs leading to the platform level.

 

The door next to the engine should always remain closed when boarding due to the open space between the engine and the coach doorway creates a large space to fall into when it is crowded.

 

When it is NOT RUSH HOUR, the policy creates a different type of condition. Crews are still ordered to open all cars, but the passenger counts don’t warrant all cars to be open. When you have a 8-9 or 10 car multi-level train with 200 passengers or less spread out it is not the safest option. First, the trains in OFF PEAK times do not have the train crews the way rush hour trains are staffed. There are less crew members dealing with passengers that are sleeping, new to our system like tourist, possibly impaired due to alcohol at dinners or sporting events. Don’t even get me started on the use of headphones. We also deal with certain passengers that are looking to take advantage of any opportunity to do illegal activities.

By painting the entire system with one broad stroke you are actually doing a disservice to our passengers and crews. Due to the policy passengers have already missed connecting trains, missed station stops because the entire train didn’t fit on platform, couldn’t get off because doors didn’t open or have had  to run through coaches just to find a crew member for an emergency.

 

The train crews are thoroughly trained in safety and compliance issues. They know how to safely operate these trains at all times of day or night, in any type of weather. You must be able to trust your front line employees that work these trains when they are telling you it is an accident waiting to happen.Please revisit the policy at this time to make revisions where necessary. I always strive for the safest course and believe this issue needs to be addressed.

 

Secondly, I am asking that the SENIOR/DISABLED tickets please be removed from all NJT TVMs immediately. My crews are reporting that at least 25-33% of all tickets collected are reduced fare tickets.

This issue is not aimed at discouraging Seniors from travelling, in fact I would welcome them to buy their ticket onboard from a crew member. The onboard purchase would give my crews the interaction of answering any questions they may have about trains or schedules. The train crews and ticket agents should be allowed once again to ask for proper ID when these tickets are being purchased. We are not allowed at this time to ask for an ID card for disabled nor proof of age for seniors but yet NJT list those requirements in the public timetable.

I have people in their 30s give train crews SENIOR tickets and the disabled ticket is even more abused by passengers.

Dover to NY- $15.25 verse $7.10. Trenton to NY $16.75 verse $7.65. This is a lot of money that is being scammed or outright stolen from NJT by passengers who know how to play the system simply by using a TVM.

 

I have stood at this podium before with the same core message. The employees that work here, both Union and Non Union, are family. Please give these 2 items some thought, when your family is trying to improve the safety of  passengers travel and close a loophole concerning cash fares, it is worth investigating the options.

 

If you have any questions I would be more than happy to help answer them. Thank you.

General Chairman Burkert’s Weekly”HOT TOPICS” News

In an effort to better communicate information as quickly as possible to the Membership here is the ” HOT TOPICS” for this week.

A) I attended our monthly Local 60 Union meeting this past Sunday. I gave a full report on my activities for the past month to the Members assembled. I would encourage more members to attend our monthly meetings. I congratulate the Members who were nominated and then won positions as Union Officers by acclamation. The treasurer position is the only position so far going out to the members to vote.

B) Anyone attending BOR or RECERT class, please be prepared to go out into the yard for instructions, This includes the proper footwear, if you wear sneakers to class you will be sent home without pay.

C) I, along with some fellow officers attended Chief Trucillo’s SPECIAL OLYMPICS GOLF OUTING. I had the opportunity to discuss Member issues with some of the Carriers other employees and try to find some solutions. The cost to attend was my own not the Local’s or GO-610. It was a great day and very satisfying to spend helping others in need. I look forward to next year and a return visit.

D) I attended a seminar this week at NJT HQ on Asbestos remediation. This was a direct result of the Carrier working on the MU cars and I requested what safeguards were in place for our Members.

E) I had multiple meetings with the Carrier on various issues that are affecting Members. FMLA is being looked at more closely so please be cognizant of exactly what are the parameters set forth by your doctor for you to be excused from work.

 

Please email me feedback or suggestions, I am here for you the Members. sburkert@utulocal60.com

Fraternally,

Stephen J. Burkert

General Chairman