For Release December 14, 2015
Lodge 6760 Morns the Passing of
One of its Longtime Officers
It is with sadness to
report the passing of a great railroader and union officer,
Lowell D. (Hawkeye) Wheeler passed away Friday, December 11, at
his home in Lakeland, Florida. Brother Lowell held Lodge 6760
together financially for many years serving as
Financial-Secretary/Treasurer. Each of his 20 plus annual audits
were presented to the Board of Trustees and accurate to the
penny. He knew where every dime of union funds were spent and
held each officer accountable for every dollar spent. Lowell
began is railroad career in 1967 in Montpelier, Ohio. He
transferred to Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1984 where he retired
August 31, 2008.
As a railway Carmen Lowell was known by all as Hawkeye, because
of his great interest in public safety by ensuring that no
freight car departed his train yard with a defect. He could spot
a thin flange freight train wheel before he knelt down to gauge
it. Lowell was well respected and considered one of the best
train yard inspectors on the system during his 41-year career.
He was a champion and will be missed.
Wheeler, 67, passed away
Friday, December 11, 2015 at his home in Florida. Born in
Hudson, Michigan and living in New Haven, Indiana the past 30
years, Lowell worked as a
Railway Carman with Norfolk Southern Railway for over 40 years.
He served as an officer with Brotherhood of Railway Carmen and
Transportation Communication Union for over 20 years. Surviving
are his wife, Betty Jo(Berberick)Wheeler of Lakeland, FL; sons:
Larry A.(Heather) of West Unity, OH, Ronald L.(Barbara) of
Montpelier, OH, Eric J.(Elizabeth)of Stryker, OH, Jeremy
K.(Erica) of New Haven, IN, and James L.(Kym) of Lakeland, FL;
grandchildren: Connor, Brooke, Sydney, Christopher, Kaidan,
Matthew, Maggie, Brandin, and Luke; and sister, Troybelle Luce.
Lowell was preceded in death by
his parents, William "Donald" and Esther M. Wheeler; brothers,
Harley Wheeler and Leslie G.
Wheeler; and grandson, Brandon C.
Wheeler. Memorial Service will be held at
D.O. McComb Funeral Home in
June 2016. Memorials may be made to Fort Wayne Seventh Day
Adventist Church or Good Shepherd Hospice. To sign the online
guest book, go to
For Release December 4, 2015
NORFOLK SOUTHERN BOARD OF DIRECTORS UNANIMOUSLY
REJECTS UNSOLICITED INDICATION OF INTEREST FROM CANADIAN PACIFIC
Canadian Pacific’s Indication of Interest is Grossly Inadequate and
Not in the Best Interests of Norfolk Southern and Its Shareholders
Transaction Would Face Substantial Regulatory Risks and
Uncertainties Highly Unlikely to Be Overcome
Norfolk Southern Confident That Its Strategic
Plan Will Deliver Compelling Shareholder Value
Company to Host Conference Call at 8:30 am ET Today
Va., December 4, 2015 – Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) (“Norfolk
Southern” or the “Company”) today announced that its board of directors
has unanimously rejected Canadian Pacific’s (TSX:CP)(NYSE:CP) previously
announced unsolicited, low-premium, non-binding, highly conditional
indication of interest to acquire the Company for $46.72 in cash and a
fixed exchange ratio of 0.348 shares in a new company that would own
Canadian Pacific and Norfolk Southern. After a comprehensive review,
conducted in consultation with its financial and legal advisors, the
Norfolk Southern board concluded that the indication of interest
is grossly inadequate, creates substantial regulatory risks and
uncertainties that are highly unlikely to be overcome, and is not in the
best interest of the Company and its shareholders.
believe in our ability to generate greater shareholder value through
execution of our strategy – delivering efficient and superior service to
build a more profitable franchise based on price and volume growth,
implementing efficiency measures, and increasing returns on capital to
strengthen our financial performance, all while maintaining our
disciplined capital return strategy,” said Chairman, President and CEO
James A. Squires. “Norfolk Southern has made growth investments and we
expect to realize the benefits of these investments in the years ahead,
especially as our intermodal volumes continue to build. Specifically, we
expect to achieve an operating ratio below 70 in 2016 with additional
improvements over the next five years resulting in increasing ROE and an
operating ratio below 65 by 2020. By maximizing our asset utilization,
we believe we can achieve double-digit compounded EPS growth over this
period. In short, Norfolk Southern is well positioned to deliver
compelling value to our shareholders.”
Squires continued, “There is a high probability that, after years of
disruption and expense, the proposed combination would be rejected by
the Surface Transportation Board (“STB”). We also believe the STB would
reject Canadian Pacific’s proposed voting trust structure, and that
there is no certainty that any other voting trust structure would be
approved. Even if the proposed combination were ultimately to be
cleared, it would be subject to a wide range of onerous conditions that
would reduce the value of the stock consideration that has been
Squires concluded, “We believe that Canadian Pacific’s short-term,
cut-to-the-bone strategy could cause Norfolk Southern to lose
substantial revenues from our service-sensitive customer base. We also
believe the proposed transaction risks harm to vital transportation
infrastructure and the communities we serve. Any strategy that hurts our
customers and the broader community is highly unlikely to receive
regulatory approval and is inconsistent with the delivery of shareholder
value over the long-term.”
Norfolk Southern board, composed of 13 directors, 11 of whom are
independent, undertook a comprehensive review of the Canadian Pacific
proposal. The Norfolk Southern board, in making its determination,
considered among other factors:
The Canadian Pacific indication of interest substantially
undervalues Norfolk Southern
Norfolk Southern, under the direction of its board of
directors and a recently appointed Chief Executive Officer,
is successfully executing a strategic plan to drive operational
improvements. The board is confident that the continued execution of
this strategic plan is superior to Canadian Pacific’s grossly inadequate
and high-risk proposal
The board believes that Canadian Pacific’s indication of
interest is opportunistically timed to take advantage of a Norfolk
Southern market valuation that has been adversely affected by a
challenging commodity price environment, does not fully reflect
infrastructure investments Norfolk Southern has made, and does not
incorporate the upside from further improvements anticipated to result
from the initiatives that the Company is implementing.
Southern is successfully executing on its strategy
Norfolk Southern’s management team is successfully
executing a number of revenue growth initiatives focused on pricing
discipline and growth in merchandise and intermodal market
Norfolk Southern’s strategic plan is focused on providing
superior customer service, continuing the recent improvement in network
performance, and implementing efficiency measures, including managing
headcount, increasing locomotive productivity, and integrating
Norfolk Southern’s strategic plan provides for
double-digit compounded EPS growth over the next five years, increasing
ROE, and, by 2020, an operating ratio below 65.
Norfolk Southern is committed to pursuing a disciplined
capital allocation strategy while investing appropriately in its
network. Over the past 10 years, since the inception of its share
repurchase program, the Company has distributed nearly $15 billion to
shareholders, consisting of an average of approximately $1 billion in
share repurchases per year and a steadily increasing dividend with a
10-year annual compound growth rate of 14%.
Transaction would face substantial regulatory risks and uncertainties
that are highly unlikely to be overcome
board believes that the proposed transaction is unlikely to be completed
given the substantial regulatory risks. Notably, any transaction must be
determined by the STB to both “enhance competition” and be
in the “public interest”.
the extended review process of two years or more and the uncertainty of
approval, there would be significant disruption to Norfolk Southern’s
business and operations.
Norfolk Southern board also believes that in the event the transaction
did close, it would be only after the imposition of substantial
regulatory conditions compromising the potential benefits of a
combination and reducing the value of the proposed stock consideration.
no certainty that the STB would approve a voting trust - the voting
trust structure proposed by Canadian Pacific is unprecedented and likely
would not be approved
Contrary to Canadian Pacific’s claims, a voting trust
under which a transaction would close prior to final STB approval of the
merger would not protect Norfolk Southern shareholders from regulatory
uncertainty. Under STB rules established in 2001, any voting trust would
require both a public comment period and approval by the STB based on a
finding that the voting trust itself is in the public interest. There is
no certainty that the STB would approve use of a voting trust.
The voting trust structure proposed by Canadian Pacific
is unprecedented, and it is highly likely it would be rejected by the
STB because the Canadian Pacific management team would control or be
substantially involved in the operations of Norfolk Southern prior to
receiving regulatory approval of the proposed merger transaction.
proposed transaction would be detrimental to Norfolk Southern’s customer
Pacific’s unilateral open access proposal would undercut the financial
performance of the combined entity as well as degrade service and dis-incentivize
strategy that adversely impacts Norfolk Southern’s service-sensitive
customer base and communities is unlikely to receive regulatory approval
and is inconsistent with the delivery of shareholder value over the
Pacific’s synergy targets are overstated and imply significant reduction
in investment to maintain service
Pacific’s overstated synergy targets imply significant reduction
to investment and employment levels, which the board believes would
harm service levels and would be unacceptable to the STB.
Operating synergies are limited because the Canadian Pacific and Norfolk
Southern networks serve entirely separate regions and only connect at
near-term cost savings that might result from applying Canadian
Pacific’s short-term focused operating model on Norfolk Southern would
be offset by traffic diversions, service deterioration and loss of
access has been widely documented to produce negative revenue synergies
from traffic loss and rate compression while also increasing operating
transaction would not help Chicago congestion issues
As the smallest Class 1 railroad in Chicago,
accounting for less than 5% of all Chicago rail traffic, Canadian
Pacific’s volumes are too small to impact Chicago rail traffic.
The proposed transaction would likely increase Chicago
Less than 15% – or less than one train per day –
Canadian Pacific-Norfolk Southern connecting traffic can be efficiently
rerouted around Chicago.
Further, Norfolk Southern believes that the proposed
transaction would cause more, not less, traffic congestion in Chicago.
We expect Canadian Pacific would increase revenues by converting
interline traffic between Norfolk Southern and both BNSF Railway
(“BNSF”) and Union Pacific (“UP”) to single-line traffic in the proposed
Canadian Pacific-Norfolk Southern system. Much of this Norfolk Southern
traffic with BNSF and UP avoids Chicago today. Unlike BNSF and UP,
Canadian Pacific does not have efficient Chicago bypass routes, so
Canadian Pacific would have to route most of this traffic through
do the lines of Canadian Pacific and Norfolk Southern not physically
connect in Chicago, but neither company’s traffic can be moved to other
Canadian Pacific-Norfolk Southern connecting points without all
constituencies incurring substantial extra miles, cost and time.
For Release June 20, 2015
200 New Jobs Coming to Marion, Ohio UTLX
From Left to right; Local Chairman Chris Pierce, TCU
National representative Carl Lakin, Local Representative Troy Meadows
and Carmen Division General Vice President Don Grissom
Marion, Ohio – June 20, 2015, Union Tank Car Co. has announced it will
add a second facility in Marion, creating 200 new jobs over the next
three years, a company news release issued through Columbus 2020
The Chicago-based company, which services and repairs railroad tank cars
used primarily by the chemical, petrochemical and food industries, noted
that its commitment will double the size of the workforce it currently
employs at its Holland Road facility near Marion.
Monday, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved a 55 percent, five-year
tax credit to Union Tank Car for the creation of $8,272,000 in new
annual payroll as a result of the company's expansion project in the
city of Marion. As part of the tax credit agreement, the authority
requires the company to maintain operations at the project location for
at least 11 years.
Greg Cieslak, Union Tank Car group president, states in a news release
from the company: "We have a quick need to expand into a second facility
due to the industry's changing landscape, and found the Columbus Region
to be a strategic location to grow. The area offers access to the right
workforce and real estate to fit our needs, and the Midwest location and
rail infrastructure are convenient to our customers."
New federal guidelines regarding the service of ethanol and crude oil
tank cars prompted the company's expansion, the release states. A second
facility will be used to upgrade the tanks and safety measures on Union
Tank's existing fleet of tank cars to meet the new regulations. Union
Tank Car's new facility will be at 1207 Cheney Ave. The company's
investment will include machinery and equipment and infrastructure costs
at the new location. Union Tank Car will maintain its existing facility,
at 939 Holland Road.
The project involves expanding operational capacity, according to the
Ohio Tax Credit Authority. The company's fixed asset investment would be
toward leasehold improvements, expanding an existing building, on-site
infrastructure improvements, and new machinery and equipment. Ronald
Meade, administrator for Ohio Means Jobs-Marion County, said the pay
range for the new jobs will be $15 to $21 per hour, with a "great
benefits package," including medical, dental and life insurance.
Those interested in applying for work at Union Tank Car are asked to do
so through Ohio Means Jobs-Marion County. The jobs available are welders
and fabricators, tank car repairers, rail car switchmen, material
handlers, and general labor and helpers, who must have a general welding
knowledge. Bruce Winslow, Union Tank Car spokesman, said the performance
of the company's Holland Road site added to the attractiveness of Marion
as the location for a second facility.
"We do have a track record in Marion," Winslow said. "We do have a very
successful shop there." Matthew Dietrich, executive director of the Ohio
Rail Development Commission, states in the release: "We're happy to
partner with Union Tank Car Company on its expansion and help secure
some of the funding to take this project from dream to reality."
The ORDC is offering a $75,000 grant to defray rail improvement costs
on-site, helping to enable the company to reactivate the rail line at
the Cheney Avenue site and to establish rail service, said Julie
Kaercher, ORDC spokeswoman. As part of its investment, Union Tank Car
Co. has committed to adding 200 jobs to its existing roster of employees
in Marion. The new jobs will include welders and technicians.
Union Tank Car is partnering with Tri-Rivers Career Center on a
workforce development program to train applicants to fill the new
positions. The training effort, led by Tri-Rivers Career Center, will be
specific to the skills Union Tank Car requires for this project.
Tri-Rivers Career Center is investing significant funds for new
equipment related to the project, and Ohio MeansJobs-Marion County will
provide funds specific to the training aspect, the release states.
Chuck Speelman, Tri-Rivers Career Center superintendent, said he and a
Tri-Rivers welding instructor, along with an Ohio Means Jobs-Marion
Countyofficial, met Ted Graham, who owns the Cheney Avenue property
being leased to Union Tank Car, at a Union Tank Car facility in Sheldon,
Texas, about three weeks ago.
said they made the trip to see the process in which workers at the new
facility would need to be trained. "They were impressed with our
facility and the fact we're training both adults and high school
students beyond the specifications that they need," Speelman said. "We
had some discussions about exactly what it was they needed, then we took
a trip down to their facility just outside of Houston, Texas. ... Our
high school students and adults are well-equipped to do that process."
Tri-Rivers purchased 10 pulsating welders to train its students on the
equipment the company will use, he said, adding that the $90,000
investment will be paid out of equipment money the school receives from
the state. "We'll be looking at adding space or renovating space to be
able to do this, because right now we have limited space during the
day," he said. He said the new space would accommodate night and weekend
Meade said Ohio Means Jobs-Marion County will reimburse each eligible
hire at Union Tank Car up to 50 percent of their on-the-job training
wages up to a maximum of $8,000.
Initial screening will take place at three locations — Ohio Means
Jobs-Marion County, Tri-Rivers Career Center and Union Tank Car — all
applicants meeting eligibility requirements and successfully completing
training guaranteed an interview with the company. That process is
expected to begin in July. For more information regarding applying for
jobs, call Ohio Means Jobs-Marion County at 740-382-0076.
Gus Comstock, Marion CAN DO! director, said Marion "was an ideal
location for Union Tank," in part because of its access to rail. "Rail
is a part of the community's heritage, and Marion is just genetically
programmed for workers to make big things," Comstock said. He said the
availability of welding training at Tri-Rivers is the "other thing that
sets Marion apart." Comstock praised the cooperation of many entities in
helping to convince Union Tank Car to add its new facility in Marion,
adding that the new facility will use a rail spur that also connects to
Nucor Steel Marion.
"What I'm most impressed about is how everybody seems to be coming
together; let's just keep the community moving forward," he said.
the new facility, Union Tank Car has set a goal of "rewrapping" 60 tank
cars each week "when it's at full capacity, but that won't happen right
away," Speelman said. "There will be a transition period to get to that
point." He said in the rewrapping process the tank cars will be wrapped
in heat-resistant fiberglass, with heavy steel plate also installed as
reinforcement. The measures are intended to reduce the consequences of
derailments. "Once again, I think this is an example that when you
invest in people and training in a community good things happen," he
Ken Stiverson, president, Marion County Board of Commissioners, said:
"Our centuries-old rail road history and modern infrastructure make this
an ideal project for the Marion community."
For more than 120 years, Union Tank Car has been a leader within the
community of builders, lessors and shippers of railroad tank cars,
working with customers to provide practical solutions to industry needs.
In addition to its two manufacturing facilities in Louisiana and Texas,
the Chicago-based company operates a major network of repair shops and
lining shops, including a location in Marion. Its repair and inspection
resources also include more than 60 dedicated On-Site mini shops and
mobile repair locations.
Union Tank Car is a Marmon Group/Berkshire Hathaway company. For more
information about Union Tank Car, visit UTLX.com.
UTLX employees are represented by The Brotherhood Railway Carmen Divsion
of TCU/IAM and are members of TCU Heartland Lodge 6760, www.tcu6760.com.
How to apply:
Anyone wishing to apply for the new jobs being created with the addition
of a second Union Tank Car Co. facility in Marion is asked to send a
resume to Ohio Means Jobs-Marion County, 622 Leader St., or to attend an
open job recruitment fair, which will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 10
at Ohio Means Jobs Marion County. For more information call Ohio Means
Jobs-Marion County at 740-382-0076.
For Release April 30, 2015
Heartland Lodge 6760 Local Chairman
Christopher Pierce Delivers His Representational Goals to the Membership
Read Local Chairman Pierce's message
For Release March 12, 2015
The House Passes Amtrak Funding
The House recently passed Amtrak
reauthorization legislation, The Passenger Rail
Reform and Investment Act H.R.749, authorizing
nearly $8 billion in funding for Amtrak that
would expire in 2019. The 316-101 vote badly
divided Republicans, as all of the no votes came
from firebrand conservatives. The Bill wouldn't
have passed except for the support of all House
The conservative group Heritage
Action for America pressured Republicans to
oppose the Bill.
TCU lobbied hard to convince our
friends on both sides of the isle to reject an
amendment that would have zeroed out all Amtrak
funding and destroyed thousands of good
middle-class Amtrak jobs. By voting against the
McClintock amendment, members of Congress
rejected the notion that the United States
should not have a national passenger railroad.
The White House issued a
statement supporting the Bill but called for
increased spending for Passenger Rail. The
Senate must now approve the measure in order to
reach President Obama's desk.
The House Bill authorizes about
$982 million per year for Amtrak’s long distance
service and another $470 million annually for
the Northeast Corridor. The bill sets another
$300 million per year for capital improvements
on Amtrak routes in the rest of country and
about $24 million per year for the company's
Amtrak’s subsidies have been
hotly contested in Congress in recent years.
Congressman Mica of Florida pushed to privatize
service on the Northeast, arguing that
nongovernment entities could operate trains more
efficiently then Amtrak. TCU was able to help
beat back the Mica amendment in Committee.
“This nation has significant
transportation challenges ahead, and Amtrak
looks forward to working with leadership to
ensure intercity passenger rail will keep people
and the economy moving,” said Amtrak in a
Amtrak employees can take comfort in the fact
House Republicans did not drastically cut
Amtrak’s funding in light of budget constraints
imposed by the majority.
Release January 21, 2015
Union Family mourns loss
Michigan, January 21, 2015 - It is with deep sadness that we
report the passing of Blake Bowman. Blake is the son of Carman
Brian Bowman. Blake, a 14-year old champion lost his fight with
cystic fibrosis today. Blake enjoyed many sports. At the top of
his list was fishing with his dad. Lodge 6760's officers
and members offer our prayers and deepest sympathies to the
Bowman family. A fund has been created to help the family offset
medical costs. To learn more about
Blake and the fund created for him please view his page at:
Release December 31, 2014
Mike Bleser Steps Down as President
Chris Pierce Becomes the 14th President of Lodge 6760
December 31, 2014 - Over the past four years Mike Bleser has served as
the 13th President of Heartland Lodge 6760. During his tenure
in office the lodge has increased its membership over 100%. With over 500
members the lodge is now the second largest lodge in the United States.
Mike has spent many hours and driven thousands of miles to ensure that
members at all ten of the major points in the lodge, spreading over a
510-mile diameter, have an equal opportunity to attend lodge meetings by
taking the meetings to the members. Lodge 6760 is the only lodge in the
country to rotate its monthly meetings from one point to another. In
2012 Mike was instrumental in changing the name of the lodge so it
better reflects its current jurisdiction. Mike has put his heart and
soul into the lodge over the past four years.
Today, Mike is stepping down as Lodge President. His skills and
knowledge will be missed; however, he will still be active as he has
accepted an appointment to the office of Board of Trustees.
Thank you Mike for your
dedication and stewardship.
Wayne, Indiana –
Heartland Lodge 6760 is pleased to announce that Christopher Pierce has
become the 14th president of the lodge. President Pierce
began his rail career in the late 1980s employed by Triple Crown. On
March 12, 1990, Chris transferred to Norfolk Southern as a Student
Carman at Fort Wayne. After earning his journeyman status, Brother
Pierce became skilled in the craft and dedicated himself to learning
every facet of the trade. He did it all with vigor and pride. When
transferred to train yard inspection duties, Chris took the rule books
home with him to study. In a short time he knew every rule and inspected
every train by the book.
time passed and senior carmen retired, Chris realized that the lodge
needed some younger members to step forward to lead. Chris took on that
challenge as well. In 2013 he became Vice President of the lodge. Under
the direction of President Mike Bleser, Chris traveled to various points
of the lodge to meet the members and listen to their concerns.
Brother Pierce is a dedicated husband, father, employee and officer.
When on the job he is all business. As president of the lodge members
can expect the same dedication and respect that Chris has displayed
during his 25-year rail career.
President Pierce, the lodge stands behind you.
Release December 17, 2014
Railroad Retirement COLA & Taxes for 2015
Chicago, Illinois - Effective January 1, 2015 railroad
retirees will receive cost of living adjustments of 1.7% on Tier I
benefits and .6% on Tier II benefits. For details on all creditable and
taxable compensation under Railroad Retirement
view the complete list.
For Release November 15, 2014
Lodge 6760 Welcomes New Member
Wayne, Indiana - Lodge 6760 is pleased to welcome Dan Welty into the
lodge. Brother Welty recently transferred from Elkhart Indiana. He is
now working at the Car Shop at East Wayne Yard in Fort Wayne. Vice
President Chris Pierce describes Dan as a member who exhibits traits of
a true leader and one interested in furthering his craft.
Lodge Financial Secretary
Kevin Hite becomes a father