CINCINNATI – Members of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 3840, the union representing National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) employees in Cincinnati, voted unanimously to oppose the sale of the Cincinnati Southern Railway to the private rail company, Norfolk Southern.
“We understand the importance of this issue because our members often respond to public health emergencies like the disastrous train derailment and release of vinyl chloride into the community of East Palestine, Ohio,” said Dr. Micah Niemeier-Walsh, who serves as a NIOSH environmental and industrial hygienist and chief steward of AFGE Local 3840. “Norfolk Southern managed the train involved in that incident and should not be permitted to purchase the Cincinnati Southern Railway.”
AFGE members at NIOSH, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the Department of Health and Humans Services, are responsible for conducting research and making recommendations to prevent work-related injury and illness.
AFGE also stands in solidarity with their union siblings across 13 different rail workers unions who have publicly stated their strong opposition to this sale due to the irresponsible and unsafe practices of private rail corporations.
“Maintaining ownership of the railroad is a much better investment for the city in the long term, and selling the railroad to Norfolk Southern means that the city loses any ability to ensure that the railroad gets safely maintained,” Niemeier-Walsh added. “Given these concerns, on behalf of the more than 200 NIOSH employees AFGE represents, we urge all eligible voters in the city to vote no on the referendum to sell the railway this November.”