TCU Carman Assistant General President Don Grissom Testifies Before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (T&I)

In a T&I Committee meeting titled “Examining Freight Rail Safety”, TCU Carman Assistant General President Don Grissom testified about the challenges currently facing the Carman division at worksites across the country.

The speakers in the hearing included:

  • Amit Bose – Administrator, Federal Railroad Administration
  • Thomas B. Chapman – Member, National Transportation Safety Board
  • Don Grissom – Assistant General President, Brotherhood Railway Carmen Division; TCU/IAM
  • Roy L. Morrison – Director of Safety, Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division; International Brotherhood of Teamsters
  • Jeremy Ferguson – President, Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, Transportation-Transportation Division

View Don Grissom’s testimony below.

Assistant General President Grissom focused on the skills and training of Carmen saying, “Upon hiring, a Carman Apprentice spends 732 working days (6 different 122-day phases) to become a Journeyman. During this time, a Carman becomes highly skilled at inspecting and repairing rail cars. Importantly, Carmen acquire many skill-sets on the job that can be utilized outside the industry, such as metal-working, welding, and fabrication.”

Even with the extensive training and experience of Carmen in the freight industry they are being told to bypass safety in exchange for speed. Brother Grissom said, “All of this pressure is dictated by corporate leadership and executed by regional or local management. Even when local managers know what they’re doing to their employees is wrong or unsafe (since they came off the crafts themselves), they’re forced to make our members‘ lives miserable under penalty of their own termination.”

“That is the life of a Carman in the PSR era. It’s the only career I’m aware of where they train you to do a job, then fire you for doing it.”

Click here to read Don Grissom’s full testimony.