Congressman Rick Nolan

Representing the 8th District of Minnesota
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Nolan Introduces Legislation to Ensure “Hours of Service Act” Coverage for Yardmasters

Jun 29, 2017
Press Release

U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan today introduced the Railroad Yardmaster Protection Act of 2017 to ensure coverage for Yardmasters in the rail industry under the Hours of Service Act. Currently, Yardmasters are not protected under the Hours of Service Act, which in its current form ensures that railroad engineers and other operating employees, as well as train dispatchers and signal employees, have limitations on their hours worked and mandatory rest periods to prevent worker fatigue and overload.

Currently, 16 hour shifts are common for Yardmasters – and shifts as long as 24 hour are on the rise.

“Yardmasters in the rail industry work demanding jobs – similar to those of train dispatchers and even air traffic controllers,” Nolan said. "All of our Nation's Yardmasters deserve these necessary and common sense protections to ensure their safety as well as the safety of the traveling public and the efficient transport of freight and cargo."

Historically, Yardmasters oversaw the operations in a single rail yard; however, in recent years, railroads have assigned control of multiple railyards to a single Yardmaster. That Yardmaster is responsible for the safe and efficient movement of freight and passenger traffic, and the railroad employees that work in their yards.

Nolan’s legislation is endorsed by the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART-TD), the American Federation of Labor & Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and the Transportation Trades Department (TTD).