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Tuesday, June 18, 2024 | Back issues
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Engineers Object to Cameras Despite Metrolink Crash That Killed 25 People

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A year after 25 people were killed in a Metrolink train crash, allegedly caused in part because the engineer was texting on his cell phone, a train engineers' union says its workers' rights were violated when Metrolink installed cameras on locomotives to snoop on engineers who might do it again.

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen filed the federal lawsuit one week after the company completed its $1 million project to install the cameras.

The union says the cameras violate workers' right to due process. It claims that the Southern California Rail Authority, which runs Metrolink, will have "the right to use whatever inculpatory video and audio it captures to provide criminal, civil, regulatory and rule violations."

It also says the cameras violate labor laws because the Rail Authority made "unilateral changes" to working conditions without engaging in meaningful bargaining talks.

The installation of the cameras "has the ability to subject every [union] member to discipline for the smallest deviation from operating procedures in a wide variety of situations, thereby creating a completely different set of working conditions, work rule interpretations and disciplinary doctrines," the lawsuit states.

Twenty-five people were killed Sept. 12, 2008 when a Metrolink train collided with a freight train in Chatsworth. An investigation found that the Metrolink engineer was texting on his phone just before the crash. He did not survive.

The union seeks a judgment that the installation of cameras is unconstitutional and violates labor laws.

It is represented by Craig McClellan.

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