Quick, decisive actions protect Belt community from pandemic

The Belt demonstrated a proactive approach related to the COVID-19 crisis.

The actions began in early March and have helped keep employees safe and ready to keep America moving. 

“The response has been excellent,” General Counsel & Director Human Resources Chris Steinway said.

In addition to enhanced sanitation efforts and granting employees broad access to protective equipment and supplies, such as hand sanitizer, communication efforts were ramped up. A shift-by-shift COVID-19-related turnover report is designed to keep employees informed. A strong dialogue was established between management and labor. 

However, Steinway says it’s no time to become complacent. 

“We don’t want to risk going in the wrong direction,” he said. 

Steinway adds that plans, including staggered shifts meant to support social distancing efforts, are to stay the course until normal staffing can resume later in the year.

Presently, administration and office employees are set to gradually return to the office June 8 and throughout the rest of summer. If cases continue to decrease, Steinway believes regular staffing could be a reality by August. But, even then, enhanced cleaning will continue and safety practices, such as mask wearing when social distancing is not possible, will remain in place. 

“I thank all BRC employees for their assistance and dedication to doing the right thing and keeping people safe,” Steinway said.

What makes you proud of the team as it battles through the pandemic?

“We had a very strong response from the beginning and have been transparent with employees. We’ve also had strong leadership from [General Counsel & Director Human Resources] Chris Steinway and [President] Michael Grace. This railroad cares about its employees and is concerned about their safety. BRC has a long history of that.”

— Director of Car Operations and Project Management Peter Sturgeon

The Belt donates a much needed 55-gallon drum of sanitizer to the Chicago Police Department’s 8th district: From left General Maintenance Foreman John Oliver, B&B employee Nick Hoffman, Chicago Police Sergeant Mike Kapior and NAPA auto parts Paul Bobak, who provided truck for transport 
Belt employees donate a drum of hand sanitizer to Bedford Park’s Police Department: From left, Police Chief Gerald Conoboy, Bedford Park Police Deputy Chief Peter Lettiere, General Maintenance Foreman John Oliver, Bedford Park Chief of Police Tom Hansen and Material Truck Driver Edgar Hernandez