The Fort Worth & Western Railroad, the Texas Northeastern Railway, the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad and the Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad have requested that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) waive certain employee-testing requirements, including surprise alcohol and drug tests, until the coronavirus has been brought under control. These short line roads say that the current situation has left them without enough employees to run the railroad and carry out the tests, and still maintain social distancing.
RT&S recently reported on the FRA’s declaration of an emergency related to the coronavirus, which provides a backdrop for the short line requests.
James M. Pecyna, the Indiana Harbor Belt’s (IHB) senior manager of labor relations told the FRA “The IHB is petitioning for this waiver in an effort to expand social distancing in the workplace. Continuing with random drug and alcohol testing places at least three people in a confined area for an extended period of time. We do not know the level at which our testers are willing to expose themselves in this manner and we may be challenged at getting one to respond.”
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