Freight update: Standing Up for Safety

New Penn road steward Todd Siniscalchi

New Penn road steward Todd Siniscalchi

Imagine you’re driving down the highway behind a semi and you see the trailer detach from the truck. Now, imagine being behind the wheel of the truck waiting for that accident to happen. Local 251 members at YRC and New Penn don’t have to imagine. A faulty release valve used on many Volvo trucks at YRC and New Penn has caused trailers to drop in yards.

The dropped trailer accidents are becoming more common, with at least 4 incidents happening recently in a single yard. No serious injuries have resulted, yet. But members aren’t waiting for a disaster before they take union action. At first, management tried to put the blame on drivers and issued them warning letters. Union action put a stop to that.

Research by Local 251 proved that Volvo has recalled trucks because of release valve problems. Faced with the facts, YRC took the unsafe trucks out of service and took back all the warning letters. The fight continues at New Penn where the company continues to operate trucks that have potentially faulty valves. Freight members and union agents are working with with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration to pressure freight employers to take the dangerous trucks out of service or install mechanical valves to ensure driver and public safety.

“I’ve never dropped a trailer myself, but I’ve seen what can happen,” says New Penn road steward Todd Siniscalchi. “This is a serious safety issue, and it’s good that our union is taking steps to make sure drivers aren’t blamed for unsafe equipment and that the public isn’t put in danger.”

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