WASHINGTON, D.C., February 3 — This month marks the 30th anniversary of the enactment of The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. BLET has had a long history of fighting to protect members’ rights under FMLA.
In marking the anniversary of FMLA, U.S. Senator Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) and U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) held a press event in Washington D.C. on February 1 to let workers know they are working on legislation that could possibly lower the required hours of eligibility or include alternative means for railroad workers who work on-call to qualify for their FMLA leave rights under the law.
Rep. DeLauro invited the Teamsters and Teamster Rail Conference members of the BLET to participate in the press event and explain the need for FMLA reform that ensures all railroad workers have access to FMLA protections.
BLET Director of Political Affairs Brendan Sullivan and BLET Director of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Sean Simon represented BLET at the February 1 event. They joined legislators to bring light to the importance of modernizing FMLA for all rail employees.
Over the past several years, BLET Vice President and National Legislative Representative Vince Verna has made it very clear to legislators that time waiting for a call, or staying at company lodging waiting for a call, should count towards a railroad worker’s FMLA hourly requirement. Brother Verna said: “A railroad worker who follows the rules, works safely and is available for the railroad to call them at any hour should not get their FMLA rights clawed back by a technical glitch in the law. We celebrate the anniversary of the law today, but we also put Congress on notice that FMLA needs reform for railroad workers and railroad workers need paid sick leave now.”
BLET National President Eddie Hall agreed and thanked the BLET’s National Legislative Office for their efforts to secure FMLA improvements on behalf of BLET members. “I have heard our members’ voices and we will use every available tool to secure all FMLA protections for all of our members.”