TD-Friendly Legislators Honored in Washington

SMART Transportation Division’s Washington State Legislative Board, represented by Legislative Director Herb Krohn, gave awards to a number of state legislators supportive of the union’s safety efforts at July’s regional meeting.

Receiving Golden Spike Awards for “exemplary leadership in advocating for legislation to protect the safety of both railroad workers and the general public” were state Sens. Steve Conway (D – Dist. 29) and Patty Kuderer (D – Dist. 48).

Washington state Sen. John Conway accepts his Golden Spike award from Washington State Legislative Director Herb Krohn, left, and SMART TD President John Previsich, center, at the Seattle Regional Meeting.

When receiving his award, Conway talked about the need for multiple-person crews on trains and the vital support crewmembers provide to first responders when a rail accident happens.

“We’re going to get that bill,” Conway said. “We’re going to get it passed.”

Kuderer, an attorney who worked on a number of railroad-related cases, is a “magnificent advocate” for rail safety, Krohn said, and had a hand in the state hearings regarding the aftermaths of both the 1993 Kelso accident and the 2015 Stampede Pass incident in which a train came apart during a blizzard.

In her speech accepting the award, Kuderer talked about how her grandfather, a union railroader, and later her grandmother could stay in their home after retirement thanks to a pension that unions fought for and protected.

However, the recent Janus v. AFSCME decision places those things in jeopardy.

Washington State Legislative Director Herb Krohn, left, looks on as Transportation Division President John Previsich congratulates Washington state Sen. Patty Kuderer on receiving a Golden Spike award at the Seattle Regional Meeting.

“There’s direct evidence that unions work and they’re not the problem,” Kuderer said. “I think what we need to do is to fight fire with fire. The Freedom Foundation is not going to give up. The Koch brothers aren’t going to give up. Big money interests, they’re not going to give up. But we have something more than they have – we have numbers, we have people, and we need to communicate the message of the unions more effectively to people to make them understand why it’s important to be a part of it.

“Just know that here in Washington, we’re going to do what we can to continue to protect unions and working families,” she said.

State Sen. Steve Hobbs (D – Dist. 44) received the Washington State Legislative Board’s 2018 Senator of the Year award for support of rail labor and working to lead the state’s Transportation Committee.

Washington state Sen. Steve Hobbs, right, thanks Washington State Legislative Director Herb Krohn after Hobbs received a Golden Lantern award at the Seattle Regional Meeting.

“If you don’t remember about the people – the people that drive the buses, the people that are on the rail cars, the people that fly the planes – then you’ve missed the point about transportation,” Hobbs said. “Because transportation is not just about getting people from Point A to Point B or getting your product from Point A to Point B, it’s about connecting people, building relationships.”

State Rep. Mike Sells (D – Dist. 38) was given a Golden Lantern award as the 2018 Representative of the Year. Sells leads the Washington State House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee and has sponsored or co-sponsored “every piece of legislation that we’ve introduced on rail safety,” Krohn said.

Washington state Rep. Mike Sells, left, accepts a Golden Lantern award from Washington State Legislative Director Herb Krohn at the Seattle Regional Meeting as Transportation Division Vice President John England, right, looks on. Three state senators also were recognized for their advocacy and full support of TD legislation.

State Sens. Marilyn Chase (D – Dist. 32), Mark Miloscia (R – Dist. 30) and Hans Zeiger (D – Dist. 25) all were given awards for voting for 100 percent of TD safety legislation and for their 100% sponsorship or co-sponsorship records for all TD-supported legislation over the past six years.

Washington state Reps. Marilyn Chase and Mark Miloscia show off the awards they received from the Washington State Legislative Board at the Seattle Regional Meeting.

In addition to Krohn, Assistant State Legislative Director Steve Mazulo of Local 855 and Darren Volland, legislative representative of Local 426, served as the host local committee for the meeting at the Westin hotel in Seattle.