The BNSF signal department is slowly improving its staffing shortages. While they continue to have difficulty recruiting new employees and retaining those they already have, the year-to-date numbers support the fact we are seeing some improvement. Thus far in 2023, we have lost a total of 41 members to retirement (14), resignation (25) and dismissal (2). Meanwhile, 123 new assistant signalmen either have been or are currently going through new hire orientation in Kansas City. As reported in our fourth quarter 2022 newsletter, we ended 2022 with 71 resignations on BNSF against a total of 121 retained new hires for the year. Due to the poor results, we also reported BNSF increased its hiring projection for 2023 to a goal of 135 new hires and that was subsequently increased to 164 new hires for the year. As you can tell from the YTD numbers above, it seems BNSF is on pace to meet that goal.
As stated in our last newsletter, the committee continues to be in discussions with BNSF to incorporate improvements into the hiring and training process with the hope of improving the poor retention rates we have seen in recent years.