The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Judge breaks strike of Union Pacific engineers at 2 a.m.

Feb 5, 2001

At midnight on January 27 some 8,000 locomotive engineers of the Union Pacific Railroad went on strike after Union Pacific, the biggest railroad in the nation, unilaterally changed its work rules. It cut back on so called "7 & 3 extra boards" which give engineers three days off after working seven straight days and it imposed new requirements to prevent engineers from taking personal leave days. The workers knew this was a safety hazard, since many of them are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and often have to work more than 12 hours in a row. In 1995 there were 15 accidents on the Union Pacific, many of them fatigue related, which caused 13 deaths.

Union Pacific ran to federal judge Lyle Strom in the middle of the night. Two hours later, just before 2 a.m., he issued an injunction against the strike. It seems this judge is also on call 24 hours a day when it comes to doing the dirty work for the company.