Median hourly earnings of rail transportation occupations in May of 2004 were relatively high, as indicated in the following tabulation:
|Subway and streetcar operators
|Railroad conductors and yardmasters
|Railroad brake, signal, and switch operators
Most railroad workers are paid according to miles traveled or hours worked, whichever leads to higher earnings. Full-time employees have steadier work, more regular hours, increased opportunities for overtime work, and higher earnings than do those assigned to the extra board.
Eight out of 10 railroad transportation workers are members of unions. Many different railroad unions represent various crafts on the railroads. Most railroad engineers are members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, while most other railroad transportation workers are members of the United Transportation Union. Many subway operators are members of the Amalgamated Transit Union, while others belong to the Transport Workers Union of North America.