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Testimony by TTD President Larry I. Willis: Creating a Legacy of Economic Stability and World-Class Infrastructure

 On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), and our 32 affiliated unions, I want to first thank Chairman Wicker and Ranking Member Cantwell for inviting me to testify before you today.

These are difficult political times in America.

Every day, we hear more and more divisive rhetoric and unwavering points of view here in Washington, D.C., on the news, over social media, and in our communities. The effects of digging our heels in hurt every single American. It drives a wedge between friends and family members. It drives a wedge between neighbors. And it makes us forget that the people ten states or even just one county over have the same desire we do for a good job and peace of mind for our families.

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TTD President Larry I. Willis Testifies on the Impacts Failing to Invest in Infrastructure has on Working Families

On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD) and our 32 affiliated unions, I want to first thank Chairman DeFazio and Ranking Member Graves for inviting me to testify before you today. And let me offer my congratulations to the new and returning members of this committee.  

Each of you asked to serve on this committee because you recognize the incredible and important role our transportation network plays in creating and sustaining good paying jobs and facilitating the world’s most advanced economy.   

And, more often than not, this committee demonstrates to the American people that party affiliations in Washington, D.C. can represent a wealth of good ideas, and not just lines in the sand.

Your willingness to work across those lines, which too often divide us as a country, was evident last year when you passed a long-term reauthorization of our nation’s air transportation programs and when you continued the committee’s tradition of funding our water resources projects. It was also evident three years ago when you passed a five-year reauthorization of our transit, highway, and rail programs.

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End the Government Shutdown. Pay Federal Workers. Vote YES on the CR.

On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I ask that you vote YES on the Continuing Resolution to open the government until February 8th. TTD unions represent hundreds of thousands of federal transportation workers who have either been furloughed or working without pay for over a month and are now at risk of missing their second consecutive paycheck. This short-term CR will make these dedicated public servants whole and allow them to continue to work on behalf of the American public while allowing Congress and the Administration further time to solve the underlying conflict that has led to this unfortunate shutdown.

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24-Hour Shifts For Railroad CMV Drivers are Unsafe and Unreasonable

On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I am pleased to respond to the exemption filed by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA). TTD consists of 32 affiliate unions representing workers in all modes of transportation, including commercial motor vehicle operators in the railroad industry covered by FMCSA hours of service requirements.[1] We therefore have a vested interest in this exemption.

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End this Unnecessary and Harmful Government Shutdown

On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I urge you to pass H.R. 267, the FY 2019 Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill and end the partial government shutdown by passing the remaining spending bills. Another day cannot pass without federal workers returning to their paid work.

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Support the Appropriations Package and End the Government Shutdown

On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I urge you to support the comprehensive appropriations package that will be voted on later today and end the needless and costly government shutdown. The package funds six federal agencies, including the Department of Transportation (DOT), through the end of the fiscal year, and funds the Department of Homeland Security until February 8. While we believe that many transportation accounts are in need of significant increases, the legislation being considered today seeks to find common ground by offering funding levels previously supported by the Senate, and most importantly will allow federal employees to return to work on behalf of the American people. 

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FRA Must Reject CSX’s Unsafe Inspection Waiver and Attack on Carmen

On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I am pleased to respond to CSX’s petition for a waiver compliance. TTD consists of 32 affiliate unions representing workers in all modes of transportation, including railroad workers in both operating and inspection crafts who would be impacted by the granting of this waiver[1]. We therefore have a vested interest in this proceeding.

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ASLRRA Pilot Program Puts Workers and Rail Safety at Risk

On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I am pleased to respond to the American Short Line Railroad Association’s Petition for Waiver of Compliance regarding hours of service requirements (HOS). TTD consists of 32 affiliate unions representing workers in all modes of transportation, including those covered by FRA’s HOS regulations.[1] For this reason, we have a vested interest in this waiver.

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FRA Must Add Conductors to Promising Fatigue Study

On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I am pleased to respond to the FRA’s new information collection request (ICR) entitled “The Impact of Commute Times on the Fatigue and Safety of Locomotive Engineers”. TTD consists of 32 affiliate unions representing workers in all modes of transportation, including train crews covered by FRA hours of service and fatigue regulations.[1] For reasons explained below, we support the intent of this ICR but urge changes to its scope to ensure fatigue issue affecting all train crews are being considered. 

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USMCA Must Protect U.S. Rail Workers

Under NAFTA, USMCA’s predecessor, U.S. workers saw their industries decimated and their wages undercut. Americans are still today feeling the impacts of a trade agreement that did not work in their favor, and this country cannot afford to repeat this mistake. We understand that a number of TTD unions and the AFL-CIO have filed comments in this docket focused on broad labor concerns – we are therefore focusing our comments on the failure of the agreement to protect rail workers from unfair competition from Mexico.

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