Progress Through Unity

Absentee Ballot Deadline Approaching

Today marks five weeks until the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial elections on Tuesday, November 7, 2017. The best way to make sure your vote counts is to vote absentee by mail before Election Day. That is because early voting eliminates the possibility that you will miss an election due to an uncertainty in your work schedule or a family emergency.

To begin the absentee vote-by-mail process, click on SMART TD’s Legislative Action Center (LAC) link below, select your state and then scroll down to the section on absentee voting. In addition to absentee voting and voter registration, the LAC election page also provides basic candidate information (including legislative races) making the LAC a one-stop election portal.

In solidarity,
John Risch
National Legislative Director
SMART Transportation Division

Election “Take 5” Flyer

Download (PDF, 507KB)

GC Report October 2017

Download (PDF, 125KB)

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 the NJ State Hearings at the Capitol Building in Trenton, these hearings concerned PTC, Portal Bridge, Gateway Project and other NJT issues. I had the opportunity to speak with Senators Weinberg and Gordon, along with Assemblyman McKeon on issues affecting you the Member. Again proper train staffing, safety and designated funding for Operations, which is non-existent at this point, were heavily discussed.

B)I attended a meeting with the Carrier over the PINK AMNESTY MILEAGE PROGRAM. If you submitted forms and have not been paid, or been paid partially please email me with full details.

C) I again discussed the Flag HOS 24 Hour issue with the Carrier, as of yet I have not received an email from members detailing when they were erroneously forced to take 24 or 48 hours rest when it was not necessary. Please send me an email so I can further the claim.

D) I attend the inaugural meeting of the Morris County Joint Labor Council, this was on Wednesday in Parsippany. We were asked to attend due to be so active already politically across the state and our office is Netcong. The Brothers and Sisters assembled were teachers, trade unions, Police and rescue. the goal is to speak with one voice in matters that affect decisions being made not only in Morris County but also the entire state when we band together with other councils throughout the state.

E) I am attending an event tonight in Belmar for Assemblyman DeAngelo 14 District, who is also the Deputy Speaker. This event will also be attended by numerous other political persons, and gives me a chance to speak with them to make them understand the daily issues that our Members face while working. I will be attending the event with NJSLD Ron Sabol, we will work together to get our message across to proper attendees. 

F) I will be attending the Railroad Retirement Board Seminar on Friday morning, to keep current on issues for the betterment of the Members.

Please email me feedback or suggestions, I am here for you the Members.


Stephen J. Burkert

General Chairman

SMART Army SMART GP Video On Relief Efforts

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 worked with Labor Relations on Managers Level of Appeals and also outstanding claims that we are still in discussions to resolve informally.

B) I attended our monthly meeting concerning the Conductor Training Program or CTP. We discussed the mentor side of the program and how to improve the communication between crews and students. We also discussed what ongoing training the students must have during the CTP. The issue about students not having radios while on OJT was discussed and should be resolved going forward.

C) I was involved in 2 separate issues this week alone where our Members reported either an unsafe condition, unsafe equipment or unsafe practices while they were working. The quick action of the members notifying me, in these cases with pictures, undoubtedly saved members and the public from serious injuries or worse. I urge you to please report something that is unsafe, don’t think it was already turned in or it is someone else’s job. The saying that the “life saved could be your own” is always accurate in our profession.

D) I would like all Members who were forced to erroneously take 24 or 48 hours rest under NJT HOS FLAG time period to email me full details of those days. Please include your name, emp#, job symbol you were forced off for the day and full lost earnings. I have already discussed this claim with Labor Relations and we are progressing it forward. Please send your email to

E) Nominations for Local Officers will be held at our next Local 60 meeting on Sunday Oct. 1st, next weekend. The offices up for nomination are President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, (3) Trustees and Alternate Legislative Representative. You can be nominated at the meeting or have 5 Members sign a sheet nominating you for the spot desired, the sheet must be handed in at the meeting.

F) Next week I will be very busy again with Hearings in Trenton involving NJT. I will also be having meetings with other elected officials and those who are seeking elected positions to discuss Members issues. Train staffing, Member safety and Designated Funding for NJT will be discussed.

Please email me feedback or suggestions, I am here for you the Members.


Stephen J. Burkert

General Chairman

GC Report September 2017

Download (PDF, 135KB)

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 a meeting with NJT Labor Relations for Directors Level of Appeals. All of the Members Grievances that were denied at a Manager’s Level are discussed at this level automatically, unless settled beforehand. If the Carrier rules against the grievances at Directors Level then I will send them to a SBA as per our Agreement. Special Board of Adjustment hearings are conducted with an arbitrator from the National Mediation Board as a neutral person to review each case and give a decision.

B) I had meetings with the Carrier to start compressing some of the work assignments. This would take some of the shorter jobs and make them longer by changing the assigned trains per day. The Carrier has too many jobs with not enough members to work them, so by compressing some assignments we would have more members available to work consistently blanked jobs.

C) I had meetings with the Carrier about “clearing passenger trains at final terminals”. The trains are not properly staffed at final terminals due to crew responsibilities, Ticket Collectors not assigned or blanked and the train equipment itself.(ie: Multi-Levels) I will continue to work this issue with both crew and passenger safety in mind.

D) I, along with Ron Sabol NJSLD, had the opportunity to sit and discuss with Assemblymen Dan Benson from the 14th District issues that affect our members. We discussed overcrowding, understaffed trains and safety concerns. Assemblymen Benson is a frequent passenger on our trains and has observed first hand the conditions we work under. I will continue to have meetings with him in the future, along with other politicians and civic leaders to protect our members.

E) I, along with Ron Sabol NJSLD, again met with Phil Murphy, Democratic candidate for NJ Governor. I expressed our concerns about the lack of “designated funding” that would not only cover equipment purchases but also expenses for our Members who work the trains in passenger or yard service. It is unfair to our Members to bear the brunt of the consequences because New Jersey Transit has not planned properly for the future.

Please email me feedback or suggestions, I am here for you the Members.


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) There is a Local 60 meeting this Sunday at 10 AM. Linden VFW, at Linden Station Eastbound side.

B) I attended a new hire class in Maplewood on Wednesday 9/6, there are 17 new members in the class. This class is the third one this year, hopefully there will be 1 more starting before the year ends. The classes are a direct result of my asking for your MISSED TRANSPORTATION SLIPS. I could sit in a meeting and show where we are short-staffed on trains and desperately needed more help.

C) I have filed 158 claims against the Carrier so far this year on Members behalf for violation of our Agreement. The total grievances is in the thousands since some claims are for entire extra lists or entire ACTP/CTP classes.

D) The Members who were ordered to take 24 hours rest under the NJT FLAG HOS change, please start gathering accurate records. I have filed a claim on your behalf for entire lost earnings for those days. I will let you know when I need the information. If you were on an EXTRA LIST and don’t know what earnings you lost please have the dates and we can work the issue from that point.

E) Please make sure that your address is correct with the SMART TD office. We have an election coming up and need your correct address for the ballot mailing. Please send updated info to

F) I again attended the NJT Board of Directors Meeting today with your NJ State Legislative Director Ron Sabol. I used the opportunity to discuss and set up future meetings with the Carrier over issues that are important to you the Members. We are the only Union that attends the monthly meeting on a regular basis to keep current with what the Carrier plans to do in the future. Attending these meetings allows me to plan for your future.

G) RAILMEN FOR CHILDREN GOLF is on Saturday 9/16 at Shawnee Golf Resort, please come out and support the cause.

Please email me feedback or suggestions, I am here for you the members.

Thank You,

General Chairman

Stephen J. Burkert

Our SMART TD Brothers and Sisters in Texas need your help!

The catastrophic flood waters caused by Hurricane Harvey have devastated Houston and its surrounding communities with loss of life and immeasurable destruction of property.

Some of those affected by the devastation are our Brothers and Sisters of SMART Transportation Division (SMART TD) who live in and near the Houston area. The silver lining is, and will continue to be, the generosity of citizens around the country who are giving what they can to help those affected to reclaim their lives.

We are asking the SMART TD family to rise to the call and give what you can so that the daunting task of starting over and rebuilding can begin.

Your generous donation will help lessen the struggle and bring real hope and relief to our SMART TD members who are suffering from this great loss. SMART TD will administer donations sent to the UTU Disaster Relief Fund.

Contributions may be sent and made payable to:

UTU Disaster Relief Fund
24950 Country Club Blvd.
Suite 340
North Olmsted, OH 44070-5333

View Online

Please call the Transportation Division office at 216-228-9400 referencing Disaster Relief.

John Previsich
SMART Transportation Division