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Mr. DEVINE. I would agree with you. Mr. CHESSER. Yes, sir. There is the area that I am talking about. Mr. DEVINE. What is your background in railroad, Mr. Chesser? How long have you been with this organization?
Mr. CHESSER. I hired out on the Santa Fe Railroad, first as a brakeman, in June of 1941, and I hold my seniority there now, as a brakeman conductor, out of Amarillo, Tex.
Mr. DEVINE. How long have you been the representative, the legislative representative?
Mr. CHESSER. I came to Washington in October 1961.
Mr. PICKLE. I just simply want to observe and I thank the gentleman-I have been unavoidably detained, and I just came into the room, but I just wanted to say to my colleagues that Mr. Chesser and I are hometown citizens, he lived in Austin for about 10 years, and we were fellow Methodists, and he was one of the best leaders for his group in all of Texas, and I am glad to see him here.
Mr. CHESSER. Thank you, sir.
Mr. Rogers. Mr. Chesser, I have enjoyed your statement, too. It has been most helpful.
I notice in some of the charts I see here, though, that they have causes of these accidents broken down into four categories, negligence of employees, this is from 1961 through 1966, about, well, almost 2,000; 1,999.
Now, this legislation wouldn't necessarily go to that, would it?
Mr. HOMER. I understand only that the legislation would provide the authority to regulate all of these areas, including at least to the extent of the operating groups could impose some control.
Mr. ROGERS. Training ?
Mr. KUYKENDALL. Will the gentleman yield to tell us where he is reading?
Mr. Rogers. Well, in the statement of Mr. Lang, who I think presented testimony yesterday, and it is on the attachment B-1.
Mr. CHESSER. I don't have that statement here, Mr. Rogers,
Mr. ROGERS. Well, I just noticed that category, defects in or failures of equipment.
Now, there are 1,800 there. This is from 1961 to 1966. Defects in and improper maintenance of way and structure, 14, and all other causes, including unknown.
Mr. CHIESSER. Now, is your question, would the legislation reach to this area?
Yes, sir, it would.
Mr. CHESSER. Giving the Department of Transportation the authority over some, well, over operating rules, and the inspection with the right to enforce defective equipment and tracks.
Mr. ROGERS. No, this is negligence of employees, where the employee doesn't do what he is supposed to. He is negligent.
Mr. CHESSER. Yes, this would be in the area of rulemaking, et cetera. And of course, in training and supervision.
Mr. ROGERS. You are going to have the Federal Government train them?
Mr. CHESSER. No, sir. No, I would say as in other industries, there should be a better training program within the industry itself.
Mr. KUYKENDALL. Will the gentleman from Florida yield at that point for a question ?
Mr. ROGERS. Yes.
Mr. KUYKENDALL. This is one of the things that disturbed several of us yesterday, Mr. Chesser, and that is the question I want to lay out on the table here and discuss thoroughly. It seems to me we risk a confrontation, or maybe the third party getting involved in the matter of labor-management relationships here. I discussed with one of your own people outside, I said:
Are you fellows going to agree to let the DOT supersede your labor arrangement as far as work rules are concerned? Have you agreed to this?
And then I believe you introduced an amendment that has something to say about it, but it seems to me the answer you just gave Mr. Rogers was a little bit of a contradiction to what my understanding of your amendment was. So we are puzzled by it.
Mr. CHESSER. Yes, well, I hope we can straighten that out. Our amendment is amendment No. 9. It is on page 21 of my statement.
Mr. BROTZMAN. If you will hold just for 1 second
Mr. Rogers. Well, I think you were trying to get an answer, Mr. Kuykendall.
Mr. KUYKENDALL. Yes; in other words, I think there is a needed point of clarification here for the good of all of us.
Mr. CHESSER. Yes, I hope we can give it to you, because we heard yesterday this discussion, and I would like to defer to our counsel, who I hope can straighten this matter out.
Mr. BERNSTEIN. It was the thought of the brotherhoods-well, first let me say that it is my understanding that it is the experience of the brotherhoods in the negotiations that they haven't been able to rely on their negotiations with management to cover safety. They have had to rely upon law. But they do, under the Railway Labor Act, negotiate many items.
Now, we have proposed this amendment No. 9, which in essence says that the Federal agency will not be empowered to deal with anything which is the subject matter of a negotiated agreement under the Railway Labor Act, with the thought that if the administrator has power to cover certain areas, with that power existing, that both management and labor will have greater incentive to negotiate under the Railway Labor Act and cover these matters, and to the extent that they have negotiated, that would be out of the power of the administrator.
Mr. KUYKENDALL. Will the gentleman pick up the bill, please, and turn to page 3, if he would ?
Mr. FRIEDEL. Mr. Rogers, your time has expired.
Mr. KUYKENDALL. Yes, sir, I would like for you to reconcile, for our good, your amendment No. 9 as to its possible conflict with 3(a) (3) on page 3.
Mr. BERNSTEIN. There would be no conflict, for this reason. 3(a) (3), as proposed by DOT, would give the Federal Agency the power to impose and set up standards of employee qualifications, and even perhaps, although it may not be desirable, to the extent testified to yesterday, or perhaps they might try to license particular classes of employees.
Now that power would reside in the Federal administration if this statute became law.
Mr. KUYKENDALL. Resting
Mr. BERNSTEIN. I will come to that in a moment. But this amendment No. 9 is included, even if that power may rest with the Federal Agency, to the extent that management and labor have negotiated an agreement covering particular subject matter, the Agency does not rule or regulate on it.
In other words, if management and labor by themselves adopt a rule, that carves out of the authority of the administrator the power to do the same thing. So it was a thought that with that, to use a blunt expression, with that legislative club there, there might be a greater incentive to negotiate on items that haven't previously been negotiated upon. Mr. KUYKENDALL. I have one more quick question.
Then, it is your opinion that even though 3(a) (3) is passed—and let me use a specific, and it may not be possible within your mind, now, but it is theoretically possible—that your man to do a certain job must have a certain number of years of qualification, regardless, and they must have a mandatory retirement at a certain age. Let's say that is ruled under 3(a) (3), and your particular agreement does not agree with it, as you cover in your amendment No. 9.
Are you of the opinion that the courts would overrule 3(a) (3) in preference to your amendment No. 9?
Mr. BERNSTEIN. Let me answer you, if I understand you. If I understand your question
Mr. KUYKENDALL. Let's correct something here. Let's just say that qualification for the airline pilot was set up and licensed by the FAA. * Mr. BERNSTEIN. We considered this very problem. Let me answer it this way.
Mr. KUYKENDALL. So let's say they set up similar qualifications for one of your engineers.
Mr. BERNSTEIN. Let's assume that the administration tries to put in a rule that a man can't operate as a train engineer beyond age 60.
Mr. KUYKENDALL. OK.
Mr. BERNSTEIN. And let's assume that the brotherhoods and management have negotiated an agreement permitting him to operate until age 65. We submit that if amendment No. 9 is included in the
bill, that the 65-year age limit negotiated by agreement would prevail, not the 60-year rule adopted by the administrator.
In that circumstance, the 60-year-old age rule adopted by the administrator would be beyond his authority. I think the court would have to hold that he had no authority, because this was a subject covered by a negotiated agreement under the Railway Labor Act, and therefore, having paramount control under this amendment No. 9.
Mr. KUYKENDALL. I would like to see a compromise on this particular thing. I would be happy.
Mr. FRIEDEL. Mr. Broyhill, your time has expired.
Mr. Chesser, I would like to express my appreciation to you for coming in and presenting your testimony and views, and the views of your organization, on this legislation.
The thought has occurred to me that we go into the reason for the increase in the number of accidents and the number of deaths, and the number of injuries, such as management touched on. In fact, Mr. Rogers pointed out this attachment B which was presented to us yesterday by the Government witness, Mr. Lang. I noticed here that in each category, negligence of employees, defect in or failure of equipment, defect in or improper maintenance of way and structure, and all other causes, including unknowns, there has been a constant increase in each of those categories from 1961 to 1966. There is an increase in every category in every year.
Yet on locomotive accidents and casualties, we have another chart, and there is an indication that, for the same years, 1961 through 1966, that there has been a decrease in the number of accidents, and a decrease in the number of persons injured insofar as locomotives are concerned. I don't know whether that is significant, or something that is really worth going into, or not; but I thought I would direct it to your attention.
In your opinion, as to the rapid increase in the number of accidents and the number of injuries and deaths, just what causes it? What has caused it, really?
Mr. CHESSER. Well, Mr. Kornegay, it is significant because, particularly with a locomotive that is one part of a train, and there is a specific act with some teeth in it, for inspection of locomotives, and this is what we are
Mr. KORNEGAY. Has that act been enforced?
Mr. CHESSER. Yes, sir. Ånd I think it shows the difference between that and the appurtenances on the other rolling stock.
Mr. KORNEGAY. Is there any inspection
Mr. CHESSER. That is not required for certain inspections. And there is no penalty, there is no law that requires inspection as it does apply to a locomotive.
Mr. KORNEGAY. Any inspection required of the freight car?
Mr. CHESSER. No, sir.
Mr. KORNEGAY. Well, irrespective of the fact that there is no act, are those items periodically or systematically inspected by the railroads?
Mr. CHESSER. I would say this: If they are, it is a very poor inspection.
I think it is very significant, the item that you mentioned, the inspection of locomotives, versus all of these other items that you mentioned.
Mr. KORNEGAY. That would certainly make out a case for inspection; wouldn't it?
Mr. CHESSER, Yes, sir.
Now, to what extent, in your opinion, does the scheduling of trains relate to a rate of accidents ?
Mr. CHESSER. Well, the scheduling of trains per se, I would say, would be very little. We have had some instances where, through block signal operation, two trains were allowed in the same block, between signals.
I can recall one instance some time ago where this happened. This, of course, is very dangerous; and I remember at that time that the Interstate Commerce Commission said that even in their block signal, their signal control, the authority that they had did not reach far enough to correct this situation.
Mr. KORNEGAY. What about speed ?
Mr. CHESSER. Well, speed, of course, has a great deal to do with accidents; and by the same token, we are not saying that freight should be speeded up, that trains should not be speeded up. But a lot of this equipment is old, it is not properly inspected, and I think it stands to reason that a car might operate maybe more efficiently, or the case of danger might not be so great if it was at a slow speed as if it was operating at a speed
Mr. KORNEGAY. I see he is waving that gavel, and there is one other thing I would like to ask you but-if you will let me, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. FRIEDEL. Be very brief.
Mr. KORNEGAY. All right; in that sense, has moving from a double track operation to a single track operation contributed to increase in accidents, as far as you know?
Mr. CHESSER. Has a move from a double track-
Mr. CHESSER. No; I think that the dangers, of course, are greater on a single track operation, because all of the trains are in a single track operation, trains are going both directions. On a double track operation, of course, they are only going in one direction.
Mr. KORNEGAY. That is right; but I just didn't know, and wanted to find out. I have observed that there has been a tendency to eliminate double track, and go to the single track, and employ, you have got some initials for it, that I can't recall at the moment, but