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Julie Karant (SEIU 32BJ) reports on the NLRB ordering an airline contractor to reinstate a Dulles wheelchair attendant fired for joining a strike.
Herbert Harris Jr (Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers &
Trainmen) reports on a local fundraiser to support Canadian rail workers being blamed for management’s mistakes in the 2013 Lac Megantic disaster.
Plus: Listener calls and this week's Labor Song: “The Wreck of the Old 97”: Johnny Cash (Live at San Quentin);
The song tells of the September 27, 1903, crash of the Old 97, a.k.a., “the Fast Mail,” which ran between Monroe, Virginia, and Spencer, North Carolina, and had legendarily never once been late. The train’s engineer, a thirty-three-year-old named Joseph “Steve” Broady, had been ordered to put on speed by his bosses at the Southern Railway, who were concerned about keeping the company’s U.S. Mail contract. The crash occurred when the 97 failed to negotiate a curve on a forty-five-foot-high wooden trestle outside Danville, Virginia. Eleven men died so the mail could get to Spencer on time.
It’s not true, as the song’s lyrics state, that Broady was going 90 miles an hour; this was a lie propagated by the railroad, which tried to blame the crash on its engineer. But it is true that “They found him in the wreck with his hand on the throttle / Scalded to death by the steam.” Most of the mail burned, too — but the Southern Railway unceremoniously rehabilitated the engine and ran it for another thirty-two years.