BNSF Argues Fed, Not State, Labor Laws Cover Rail Crews

Law360, San Francisco (November 2, 2017, 3:24 PM EDT) -- BNSF Railway Co. hit the labor chiefs of California and Washington with a pair of lawsuits in federal court on Wednesday, alleging labor statutes in both states regulating employee hours of service, rest breaks and wage statements are preempted by federal laws governing the working conditions of railroad employees.

In separate suits filed in Washington and California, BNSF argued that the nature of railroad work generally does not allow for mid-shift rest, especially for crews who typically operate the trains in 12-hour shifts.

“Stopping trains for employee rest breaks would block road crossings, expose train cargo to theft or vandalism, and...

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