On Friday, the union representing train drivers filed lawsuits in state and federal court against the installation of video cameras inside locomotive cabs. The union contends that the cameras violate the Railway Labor Act, federal wiretap laws and the Federal Rail Safety Act of 1970.
Metrolink Director, Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich criticized the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen for their actions.
“The union’s lawsuit to derail Metrolink’s efforts to prevent future tragedies is stupid and irresponsible,” Antonovich said. “After months of investigations and studies to enhance safety, Metrolink spent over one million dollars installing cameras to prevent deadly mistakes and protect our passengers, the public and our employees.
“The union’s troubling message, ‘public be damned,’ is reckless. Police officers, bus drivers and others in the service sector are all subject to video recording in the workplace,” he concluded.
“While cell phone use is alleged to have contributed to the fatal Metrolink collision of September 12, 2008, installing video cameras inside the locomotive cabs is an invasion of privacy,” said Paul T. Sorrow, Acting President of the BLET, in a release issued by the union on Tuesday. “In fact, video cameras in the cab are an ineffective deterrent to cell phone use and there are far less intrusive and less expensive measures readily available that actually would prevent such use to accomplish Metrolink’s purported goal of improving safety.”
The union suggests that cell phone jamming systems would be more effective and contends that the cameras were installed in violation of the railroad’s collective bargaining agreement with the BLET.
They also say that Southern California Regional Rail Authority, Metrolink, Veolia Transportation Inc. and its subsidiary, Connex Railroad, LLC, which provides crews for the commuter rail service, did not meet and bargain in good faith or discuss the potential use or abuse of recorded video images and audio captures by the system.