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Region 5 News Release: 14-260-CHI
March 6, 2014
Contact: Scott Allen      Rhonda Burke
Phone:       312-353-6976
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov      burke.rhonda@dol.gov

Grand Trunk Western Railway Co., Union Pacific ordered to pay back wages
to 5 suspended, injured employees after OSHA whistleblower investigation

CHICAGO – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has found Grand Trunk Western Railway Co. and Union Pacific Railroad Co. in violation of the Federal Railroad Safety Act for suspending and/or disciplining five workers following the reporting of workplace injuries or illnesses.

"When employees are disciplined for reporting workplace injuries, safety concerns or illnesses, worker safety and health are clearly not the company's priority," said Nick Walters, OSHA's regional administrator in Chicago. "More than 60 percent of the FRSA complaints filed with OSHA against railroad companies involve an allegation that a railroad worker has been retaliated against for reporting an on-the-job injury. This is unacceptable and a culture that must be changed."

The department has ordered the companies to pay back wages, along with interest, punitive and compensatory damages, and attorney's fees. The companies will also be required to remove disciplinary information from the employees' personnel records and must provide whistleblower rights information* to workers.

OSHA has ordered Grand Trunk Western Railway Co., a subsidiary of the Canadian National Railway, to pay four workers a total of $85,580.

A building and bridge carpenter will receive $29,671 in lost wages, less employment taxes, $2,119 in lost vacation pay and $10,000 in punitive and compensatory damages.