One thing was clear at Norfolk Southern’s June 1 town hall meeting in Bellevue, Ohio: safety is the top priority for the company. The company-wide event, hosted by Alan H. Shaw, President and CEO, served as an opportunity for direct communication between Norfolk Southern’s leadership and its 20,000 employees on three key topics – Norfolk Southern safety, collaboration with our unions, and creating long-term value. Also on full display was the importance of a strong partnership between management and labor.
“We charted a new course in the industry, and we are really focused on culture. For me, it starts with culture,” said Shaw. “You gotta get culture right well before you even think about getting your strategy right. What I've tried to do at Norfolk Southern is building this culture of transparency and inclusion where everyone feels the responsibility and protected to raise issues and provide feedback.”
Norfolk Southern is committed to setting the gold standard for the rail industry in safety. Recently, the company has made significant strides in this arena, including promoting a new vice president of safety; implementing new safety protocols with a six-point safety plan; and investing further in safety equipment, technology, and training.
“Succeeding is going to take all of us. I know a lot of you have ideas about enhancing safety and improving our safety culture, and I really appreciate that,” said Shaw. “I want to hear from you, I want you to speak up. When all of us speak up, that’s 20,000 voices pushing for safety—pushing for what’s best for Norfolk Southern.”
Underscoring Norfolk Southern’s commitment to safety is the important collaboration between company leadership and its labor unions. More than two dozen union representatives were in attendance and six labor leaders joined Shaw on stage.
“We thank the unions for their partnership on improving safety and quality of life for every employee,” said Shaw. “We said we wanted to partner more effectively with union leadership – and today you see management and labor keeping that promise.”