Bill Would Give Yardmasters Hours of Service Protection

By R G Edmonson | July 19, 2017

WASHINGTON — A bill that would include yardmasters among railroad employees covered by the Hours of Service Act was recently filed in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Yardmasters often work shifts as long as 16 hours, and more 24-hour shifts are on the rise, according to the bill's sponsor, U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn. Yardmasters traditionally managed one rail yard, but now they have been assigned to oversee several yards.

“Yardmasters in the rail industry work demanding jobs,” Nolan said in a news release. "All of our nation's yardmasters deserve these necessary and common sense protections to ensure their safety.”

The Hours of Service Law limits on-duty time to 12 hours, along with mandatory rest periods. It now covers operating personnel, dispatchers, and signal maintainers. Nolan's bill was filed June 29, and referred to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Nolan's news release says the bill has been endorsed by International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers, the AFL-CIO and Transportation Trades Department.