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Woman suing over Empire Builder rape case


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#41 jis

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Posted 28 November 2017 - 07:11 PM

IMHO, Amtrak's attempts to wash its hands off all responsibility is shameful. But I guess as a legal strategy, it is what it is.

 

But the possible memes that can come out of this on the likes of Facebook is pretty alarming, if some anti-Amtrak entity gets hold of this and decides to run with it. It could be a public relations disaster. Much worse nightmare than say what United faced with the guy who was dragged off the plane.



#42 neroden

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 08:35 AM

I would say that the woman should name the union *and* the "Board" which ordered the rapist rehired as defendants along with Amtrak.  And frankly Amtrak should join and sue them too.  The union's inexcusable behavior in getting the rapist reinstated after Amtrak quite justifiably fired him for a long series of criminal and firing offences makes the union liable.  A union is not a lawyer: it is not obliged to defend admitted, indefensible behavior and it is actually not supposed to.


Edited by neroden, 29 November 2017 - 08:36 AM.

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#43 neroden

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 08:37 AM

Why is it so difficult to fire these unionized workers, even ones with criminal backgrounds as in the

case of this Pinner guy? 

Because the Railway Labor Board is saffed with -- frankly -- criminals who belong in prison.  There's no other way to describe it.  This woman absolutely should have named the Railway Labor Board as coconsiprators and charged *them*.  They're not immune.


Edited by neroden, 29 November 2017 - 08:37 AM.

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#44 tricia

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 08:39 AM

IMHO, Amtrak's attempts to wash its hands off all responsibility is shameful. But I guess as a legal strategy, it is what it is.

 

But the possible memes that can come out of this on the likes of Facebook is pretty alarming, if some anti-Amtrak entity gets hold of this and decides to run with it. It could be a public relations disaster. Much worse nightmare than say what United faced with the guy who was dragged off the plane.

 

This SHOULD be a public relations disaster for Amtrak, if their attitude to assaults on passengers on their trains is effectively "sh** happens, not our fault."

 

Common carriers are held to a higher standard of care because passengers are utterly reliant on them for safety and security while on board. ALL of Amtrak's onboard staff need to be trained to be vigilant for episodes of assault, and to treat responding to any such event as a top priority: make sure the passenger is OK, and make sure any alleged perpetrator is immediately isolated from other passengers. By "vigilant" I mean routinely keeping an eye out for circumstances that seem "off" and following up to make sure everyone is OK, instead of following the natural inclination to treat anything out of the way as interference with doing one's job. 

 

Amtrak also needs to do a better job communicating to passengers that if they encounter any personal threat they can and should approach ANY Amtrak staff to report the problem. If they can do this for the extremely rare problem of terrorist activity ("if you see something, say something"), surely they can do something similar for the much more common problem of assault.

 

And, yeah, they do need armrests between passengers, especially on overnight trains.


Edited by tricia, 29 November 2017 - 08:41 AM.


#45 neroden

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 08:45 AM

This incident will cost Amtrak "heap big wampum" - and it should!

By now, Amtrak knows, or at least should, that they must be extra vigilant in the hiring process, and that the background check complete before one is ever hired - especially for public contact work. Even the Union, the ASWC, had to know this guy was "trouble", but they knew that if they did not defend him through all levels of the discipline and appeals process under the Agreement and the Railway Labor Act, he would turn around and seek damages under the "failure to represent" provisions of the Landrum-Griffin Act.

But who are the real losers - the vast majority of Amtrak employees who do their jobs courteously and efficiently - and all the time putting up with "crap" too voluminous to discuss here.

I read the Landrum-Griffin Act.  There are no "failure to represent" provisions.  Are you referring to something else?

 

As far as I can tell, the union had absolutely zero obligation to defend him when the rapist was fired the second time -- for illegally and in violation of his job requirements conducting unlicensed private for-profit business while on duty.  While the union might be supposed to defend him the *first* time when he was fired for bigoted remarks, the *2006* firing isn't at all questionable: he admitted to a totally blatant violation of his job duties with no excuse and for personal gain.  The union was out of line in attempting to defend him, and the RLB ruling is unsustainable. 


It would have been correct for Amtrak to simply refuse to rehire him and to appeal the RLB ruling to the Supreme Court on the grounds that the public safety requires that they cannot rehire someone who is bringing disrepute on the company by violating his contract, and the law, for the purpose of private profit.  It would be good to set a precedent and smack down the criminals on the RLB.


Edited by neroden, 29 November 2017 - 08:49 AM.

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#46 jis

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 08:45 AM

The lack of armrests in Coach in Amtrak trains has always seemed bit odd to me since the first time I encountered such. I have commented on it here in the past, and as usual got a barrage of silly justifications from mindless Amtrak apologists. :(


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#47 GBNorman

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 09:18 AM

Mr. Nerode, having spent three years of my eleven year railroad career in Labor Relations, I can assure you that "failure to represent" is a provision under the Landrum-Griffin Act:

https://www.nlrb.gov...rum-griffin-act

Even though the Railway Labor Act was enacted prior to the "Trilogy" (Wagner, Taft-Hartley, Landrum-Griffin), the Trilogy has jurisdiction over railroad labor relations to the extent that the Act's provisions do not conflict with the Trilogy.

Now a word on the "Boards" under the Act. The (RLA) Act established the National Railroad Adjustent Board, which was divided into four Divisions to adjudicate cases final and binding along craft lines. However, the load of cases exceeded the Board's capacity to make timely adjudications of matters regarding work rules and discipline, so there was enacted legislation establishing Boards of arbitration, known within the industry known as Public Law Boards.

While I am removed from the industry and my second career for now 36 years (third career was as a CPA in private practice from which I retired during '03, first military service), I hope this helps.

Edited by GBNorman, 29 November 2017 - 09:19 AM.


#48 railiner

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 10:54 AM

The lack of armrests in Coach in Amtrak trains has always seemed bit odd to me since the first time I encountered such. I have commented on it here in the past, and as usual got a barrage of silly justifications from mindless Amtrak apologists. :(


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Me too.....IIRC, the original Amfleet cars had 'em.....when the Amfleet II cars came, I believe they were removed.    I too am annoyed by seatmates "encroaching" on my space, that a center arm rest would help preserve to some extent....Even one that could be raised up, if the adjacent seat remained empty....


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#49 Steve4031

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 11:07 AM

I took a quick look on the internet at high speed train interiors and tgv and ice trains both have armrests in 1st and second class. The seats on those trains are better than amtraks seats IMHO.


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#50 Mystic River Dragon

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 11:08 AM

 

IMHO, Amtrak's attempts to wash its hands off all responsibility is shameful. But I guess as a legal strategy, it is what it is.

 

But the possible memes that can come out of this on the likes of Facebook is pretty alarming, if some anti-Amtrak entity gets hold of this and decides to run with it. It could be a public relations disaster. Much worse nightmare than say what United faced with the guy who was dragged off the plane.

 

This SHOULD be a public relations disaster for Amtrak, if their attitude to assaults on passengers on their trains is effectively "sh** happens, not our fault."

 

Common carriers are held to a higher standard of care because passengers are utterly reliant on them for safety and security while on board. ALL of Amtrak's onboard staff need to be trained to be vigilant for episodes of assault, and to treat responding to any such event as a top priority: make sure the passenger is OK, and make sure any alleged perpetrator is immediately isolated from other passengers. By "vigilant" I mean routinely keeping an eye out for circumstances that seem "off" and following up to make sure everyone is OK, instead of following the natural inclination to treat anything out of the way as interference with doing one's job. 

 

Amtrak also needs to do a better job communicating to passengers that if they encounter any personal threat they can and should approach ANY Amtrak staff to report the problem. If they can do this for the extremely rare problem of terrorist activity ("if you see something, say something"), surely they can do something similar for the much more common problem of assault.

 

And, yeah, they do need armrests between passengers, especially on overnight trains.

 

I agree completely with everything tricia says here. I for one will stop promoting Amtrak to my friends and relatives until Amtrak finds a conscience.

 

And although the nightmare of what happened will never go away, I also hope the woman this horrible, dreadful thing happened to will be able to find healing and some peace.



#51 Chey

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 12:10 PM

I'm female and almost always travel alone on LD trains. This story makes me wonder how delusional I've been about safety.

I’m female and travel alone and do not let things like this keep me from enjoying my travels. I feel just as safe traveling as I do at home.


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I agree with Tricia. This is not something I'll forget, and having once been a union steward years ago I'm well aware of how unions protect employees like Pinner. It won't keep me from traveling and enjoying it but I will be more aware and careful now.

#52 SanDiegan

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 12:18 PM

 

Union or no Union,why isnt this cretin in Jail? And where were the other Crew Members and other passengers on the train during this attack?

 

The article says that he was sentenced to 60 years in prison.

 

https://app.mt.gov/c...6b2675fd8352559

 

DOC ID# 3020134
NAME: Charles Henry Pinner
CURRENT STATUS: INMATE
LAST STATUS CHANGE: Tuesday, August 15, 2017
GENDER: Male
INFORMATION CURRENT AS OF: Monday, November 27, 2017
PRISON:
CROSSROADS CORRECTIONAL CENTER
50 Crossroads Drive
SHELBY, MT 59474
(406) 434-7055

 

Good thing it happened in Montana. In California, he would probably be out already.


Edited by SanDiegan, 29 November 2017 - 12:19 PM.


#53 Lonestar648

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 12:22 PM

Based on what is being said about about the laws protecting employees, I think there needs to be a provision that keeps criminals from endangering the public.  No woman, child, or man needs to be concerned about the people who are working around them, who are trusted because they work for the company.  In this case, the union twice, supported successfully, an employee who is a sexual predator. Question: If Amtrak was required to rehire this person, could they have placed him in a non-public position or were they required to place him in OBS?



#54 SanDiegan

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 12:23 PM

 

There IS a supervisor on board! He or she is called the Conductor!

Or do you mean someone who watches over you all the time? :huh: When I worked for the IRS in Arizona, my Supervisor was in Phoenix - 260 miles away. Then due to a realignment of districts, my Supervisor was in Las Vegas - 125 miles away. My Supervisor did not look over my shoulder every day, but I did have to report to her.

The last I hear the LSA was the manager of OBS correct?

 

So in the IRS office there was no office manager? seems odd. 

 

My government employer has layers and layers of managers. They mainly get in the way of work being done and do nothing but micromanage our attendance and break times.



#55 Bob Dylan

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 12:53 PM


 


There IS a supervisor on board! He or she is called the Conductor!

Or do you mean someone who watches over you all the time? :huh: When I worked for the IRS in Arizona, my Supervisor was in Phoenix - 260 miles away. Then due to a realignment of districts, my Supervisor was in Las Vegas - 125 miles away. My Supervisor did not look over my shoulder every day, but I did have to report to her.

The last I hear the LSA was the manager of OBS correct?
 
So in the IRS office there was no office manager? seems odd. 
 
My government employer has layers and layers of managers. They mainly get in the way of work being done and do nothing but micromanage our attendance and break times.
Not to mention hold "Meetings" that accomplish absolutely nothing except for screwing up the already screwed up system right?😉😄
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#56 neroden

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 11:38 PM

Mr. Nerode, having spent three years of my eleven year railroad career in Labor Relations, I can assure you that "failure to represent" is a provision under the Landrum-Griffin Act:

But... it's not. I literally read the entire act. Then I text-searched both "failure" and "represent" in case I'd overlooked it. It's not there.

Maybe it's in a different act and people are a little bit sloppy about the reference? Is it in the Railway Labor Act, which I did not read? Is it in Taft-Hartley? Is it in some later amendment or addendum to the act?

Or perhaps is it in some set of regulations issued pursuant to the act under some particular interpretation of the law? Or some "interpretive ruling" by some administrative board, or by some judge? Because there are a lot of rules in that law about how unions are supposed to operate, mostly about union elections and restrictions on usage of union funds, but I found *nothing* in the text of the law requiring unions to fund defenses of admitted criminal activity.

Because this matters. If the supposed "failure to represent" claim isn't actually in the *law text* but is an invention of one of the administrative boards, it's something whose scope can be restricted by the courts. And they would do it in a case like this if Amtrak pushed it.

https://www.nlrb.gov...rum-griffin-act

Even though the Railway Labor Act was enacted prior to the "Trilogy" (Wagner, Taft-Hartley, Landrum-Griffin), the Trilogy has jurisdiction over railroad labor relations to the extent that the Act's provisions do not conflict with the Trilogy.

Now a word on the "Boards" under the Act. The (RLA) Act established the National Railroad Adjustent Board, which was divided into four Divisions to adjudicate cases final and binding along craft lines. However, the load of cases exceeded the Board's capacity to make timely adjudications of matters regarding work rules and discipline, so there was enacted legislation establishing Boards of arbitration, known within the industry known as Public Law Boards.

While I am removed from the industry and my second career for now 36 years (third career was as a CPA in private practice from which I retired during '03, first military service), I hope this helps.


Edited by neroden, 29 November 2017 - 11:49 PM.

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#57 caravanman

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 08:57 AM

I take issue with the tone of some posters... "getting a rapist re-instated". The guy was not a rapist, he was in trouble for something else. Having representation at a works disciplinary hearing is a right and fair thing for your union to do for you. Judgements were made at the hearings, and appeals, as with any court type environment.

The guy sounds like a bad lot, and it is unfortunate that he got re-instated, but keep in mind that he was reinstated not as a rapist, but for much lesser violations.

Can any business legislate for an employee who is a bit problematic, who suddenly escalates, picks up a gun and starts shooting his co-workers, or attacking the public?

Frothing at the mouth because you dislike unions is not relevant to this issue, in fairness.

 

Ed.


Edited by caravanman, 30 November 2017 - 09:09 AM.


#58 cirdan

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 10:00 AM

 

Frothing at the mouth because you dislike unions is not relevant to this issue, in fairness.

 

Ed.

 

I'm neither pro nor anti union.

 

I've never worked in a unionozed workplace or otherwise had much exposure to them so don't have enough information to pass judgement.

 

And of course you are right. A union may, by virtue of its statutes, have to provide legal support for a member, regardless of whether or not the union actually sanctions what that person did.

 

This can at times make them easy easy bait for those who have an axe to grind. Do the same people go after legal insurances when they pay up and provide legal counsel for a rapist? Probably not. Thus unions get unfairly singled out for just doing what their members pay them to do.

 

One proplem I do have with unions is that they often see themselves as having to act as some sort of politcal force and get involved in political discussions, campaigning and issues of political correctness and such that clearly go beyond their actual mission of defending the interests of their  members against abuse by management and unfair working conditions. As such they step on more toes than is really necessary and are maybe making enemies unncessarily.


Edited by cirdan, 30 November 2017 - 10:01 AM.


#59 crescent-zephyr

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 10:23 AM

Selling pornography on the job and making verbal threats should both be fire-able offenses (does anyone really disagree with that?). That's why we don't like the union who got his job back.

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#60 Ryan

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 10:32 AM

It would be instructive to see *why* he was able to be reinstated before we throw the unions under the bus.
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