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STB Extends Employment Data Reporting for Class I Carriers

01/31/2024 (Wednesday) [PDF Version]
No. 24-06

Michael Booth
FedRelay 1 (800) 877-8339

The Surface Transportation Board today issued a decision that extends the temporary reporting of employment data to December 31, 2024, and that requires certain updated information from BNSF Railway Company (BNSF), CSX Transportation, Inc. (CSX), Norfolk Southern Railway Company (NS), and Union Pacific Railroad Company (UP) (collectively, the Four Carriers).

On April 26 and April 27, 2022, the Board held a public hearing on the significant performance deterioration of the freight rail industry.  In response to the extensive problems described at the hearing, on May 6, 2022, the Board issued an order requiring all Class I carriers to submit several specific reports on rail service, performance, and employment.  The Four Carriers were also required to submit service recovery plans, progress reports, historical data, and participate in biweekly conference calls with Board staff.

This year, railroads expect to see increased traffic, partially resulting from improved economic conditions, and that the Four Carriers have stated their commitment to growing traffic on their networks.  While the Four Carriers have increased overall workforce levels since May 2022 and have met most of what they set as interim labor force targets, employment levels at the Four Carriers are still approximately 14,000 below pre-pandemic levels and have been essentially flat for the past six months.  Employment levels and crew shortages were often cited in the April 2022 hearing as a reason for poor service.  To help determine the durability of service recovery efforts, today’s decision extends monthly reporting of employment data by Class I carriers.  The Four Carriers are directed to provide detailed information regarding hiring and retention plans and provide an additional update containing labor force targets.  BNSF, NS, and UP are directed to continue to submit data about trainees in their monthly employment data.

Because service performance data from recent weeks show that service has improved since April 2022, the Board does not see the need at this time to extend the service data reporting.

Today’s decision in Urgent Issues in Freight Rail Service—Railroad Reporting, Docket No. EP 770 (Sub-No. 1), may be viewed and downloaded here.