COVID-19 (Corona Virus) Information Center
This site contains multiple resources and communications from various points. Please understand this situation is fluid, therefore updates and additional resources will be included often. Stay tuned to ensure you have current available information !!
May 5, 2020
Good Morning Sisters and Brothers,
May 1, 2020 BNSF announced they “will now be requiring the use of masks or cloth face coverings when social distancing cannot be maintained”. Front line supervisors were informed of this on May 2, 2020 and all of us were informed May 4, 2020 either by email or in your morning job briefings.
Initially the message given by BNSF leaders was this was going to happen or you get disciplined! Your Union, The BMWE informed BNSF we were not going to stand for this and there were other ways to address this expectation under our present circumstances in this country. After contacting BNSF VP’s and addressing the harsh standards that BNSF’s front-line supervisors were setting, an emergency call was initiated at BNSF CEO level and the message was corrected began to change. As General managers were contacted, they contacted their front-line supervisors to correct how this was supposed to be initiated.
The BMWE does respect that BNSF is providing face mask to every MOW employee, keeping you safe and providing a safe work environment is their primary obligation. It is one of the primary reasons this great Union was created was to keep you safe. As the number of those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow WE MUST ALL DO OUR PART TO PROTECT OURSELVES, FAMILIES, SISTERS AND BROTHERS WE WORK WITH EVERYDAY. One way to do this is by wearing some form of face covering as explained in the last BNSF communication we received.
As stated by BNSF:
“This can be done by wearing a mask, homemade covering, gaiter, bandana, fabric, or cut up old tee shirt. If there is another barrier or task related PPE such as a respirator, (non-mesh) face shield, window, etc. then that can be used in lieu of a face mask”.
Please remember to follow BNSF rules, don’t over exert yourself, and take plenty of breaks. As the temperatures warm up and summer approaches, we all will be faced with unknown challenges dealing with this COVID-19 pandemic. Wearing a mask or face covering will most likely require you to take more frequent breaks to cool down and stay hydrated, staying safe and healthy is the primary goal.
One last note, in conversations with BNSF officials some did not rule out if a situation requires it discipline will not be ruled out. The old phrase “rule by an iron fist” still exist. However, as proud Union members of the Maintenance of Way craft we also have fist and we will stand together, but we also have dignity and morals that distinguish us from the rest. Please do your part, cooperate in this effort to stop the spread of this deadly virus, the silent killer, wear the mask or face covering when necessary. Do it for your families, friends, Sisters and Brothers. Contact us if you are not or have not been provided mask.
ATSFF System Officers