New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - August 31, 1997, New Braunfels, Texas
By DAWN FAULK
Associated Ross Writer
HerakJ-Zettung g Sunday, August 31,1997 Q9A
Agency finds many problems with Union Pacific’s safety
TIM Hum Braunfels Women's Chambef conducted a “Rtalnci Star Celebritton** for Dr. lhnfth Tfwmpon
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asms—ACCENTS - Home Acceaaortsa, The Codec Hon • I Apparel, Jewelry Eccentrics, Hand Down Message and Therapy, William Edge Salon and Kyter's Kustom Kovners. The reel sat als transaction was handled by Donna Montakiano of Kroparry wianagamani KfOTossicnaia m now Braunfels.
, home sales on the rise
By JOHN D. MCCLAM
WASHINGTON (AP) — Fresh signs of a robust economy emerged Friday, but they fed concerns about a new round of inflation
The Commerce Department reported that consumer spending shot up 0.8 percent in July, fastest in six months, while sales of new homes rote 0.9 percent, the third straight advisee.
At the same time, the Purchasing Management Association of Chicago said its index of area business activity rose to 64.3 percent in Align*, more than recovering a slight drop to 60.6 percent in July. A reading above 50 percent indicates the manufacturing sector is expanding.
The reports preceded a roller-coaster day on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 104 points in early trading, dropping below 7,600 for the first time since June 26. By midmorning it recovered all the loss, only to slip again before turning up again in early afternoon.
Bond prices also were lower amid fears the continued economic growth could spur the Federal Reserve to
raise interest rates later this year to prevent prices from spiraling upward.
“The kind of growth we’re seeing and are likely to sec is eventually going to be too strong for the Fed," contended economist Richard Berner of the Mellon Bank in Pittsburgh.
“The domestic economy is fundamentally extremely strong and the threat that inflation could rise is with us.”
Still, analysts found signs in the reports that the current strength may betemporafy^^^^^^^^^^
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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Many of Union Pacific’s safety problems have one simple cause — its employees are exhausted, the Federal Rail
Administration chief says.
Jolene M. Molitoris said
preliminary results of a safety inspection of the nation’s largest railroad showed dangerous train maneuvers, dispatcher errors and missing freight information were the norm.
Her agency is midway through a 10-day, systemwide review of Union, Pacific Railroad, prompted by a recent series of train wrecks that killed seven people.
Sheer fatigue is at the root of many errors, Molitoris said Wednesday.
“You have people who are waking 7 days a week, 12-plus hours a (fey with no time off. When you are that tired it makes top performance and safety assurance impossible,” she said. “And that schedule isn’t just for a week a so, it’s constant”
Molitoris met with Union Pacific President Jerry Davis, who said the company plans to hire 1,500 new workers by Ok year’s end to help ease the heavy world oad. He added that employees are limited by federal laws to working 12-hour days.
“We will do whatever it takes for as long as it takes until we are running the safest railroad in the United States,” Davis said.
Hiring more employees also would allow more dispatchers to take road trips as part of ongoing training, Davis said. The company had been criticized for training dispatchers through videos instead of letting them see the actual routes.
He said the company would organize a safety team to address FRA concerns and hold a safety summit.
Getting a good night’s rest won’t solve all of Union Pacific's problems. Some dispatcher errors showed a basic misunderstanding of railroad rules, Molitoris said.
She pointed to a recent situation in which a dispatcher talked a tj^i/i through moves against the current of
traffic, a violation of federal and company rules that require written approval for such a movement.
Davis said the mistake could have resulted in a collision if it had not been immediately corrected.
Union Pacific has said die merger with Southern Pacific last year has not affected productivity. But
Molitoris said supervisors are 36 overloaded with administrative duties that they were not performing required routine safety checks on trains.
The FRA inspection is to end next week. Molitoris said her agency will continue to work with Union Pacific on safety issues.
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