Solidarity is based on the principal that we are willing to put ourselves at risk to protect each other. Being active in the protection of your fellow coworkers by reporting safety concerns, by reporting unsafe working conditions, by actively supporting other railroad workers who have been retaliated against by participating in OSHA investigations and participating in carrier investigations promotes protection of yourself and others. It is important to know that under the whistleblower statute, if you are helping OSHA in its investigation of a retaliation claim, you are also protected. That means if the railroad retaliates against you for helping your coworker in his or her retaliation claim, you have a right to also bring a claim with OSHA.
Many railroaders worry about the effects of being honest about safety conditions with OSHA and reporting safety concerns and helping other coworkers when they are retaliated against. We often get questions about any protection that railroaders have when they are standing together to protect another coworker. It’s important to know that those protections from OSHA extend to anyone actively participating in an investigation and that if the railroad suddenly turns its retaliatory actions against you, you are protected.
Please reach out to an experienced railroad attorney to talk to you about your rights if you find yourself in this position. The more railroaders know about their whistleblower rights, the more that the carriers are forced to make your working environment safe.