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Rail Labor Echoes NGFA Service Complaints

By Admin

On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD) and the totality of rail labor as represented by our affiliated unions, I write in support of the sentiments raised by the National Grain and Feed Association’s (NGFA) March 24th letter to the Board. NGFA describes service disruptions its members are facing on the Union Pacific (UP), Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) and Norfolk Southern (NS), in both picking up and delivering grain and feed products. As NGFA discusses, this presents not only financial challenges for its members, but ultimately threatens the ability of the nation’s farmers to feed their livestock. The notion that our nation’s food supply chain is threatened by the continued negligence and intransigence of the railroad industry is both stunning and unacceptable. 

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Labor Voices are Critical to NETT Council Mission

By Admin

On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I am pleased to respond to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) notice regarding the Non-Traditional and Emerging Transportation Technology (NETT) Council’s request for comments. TTD consists of 37 affiliate unions representing workers across all modes of transportation. Those unions, and the millions of workers they represent, bring a critical perspective to the questions put forward in this notice.

As you know, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) tasked the NETT Council with resolving jurisdictional and regulatory gaps or inconsistencies associated with nontraditional and emerging transportation technologies and coordinating DOT’s response to nontraditional and emerging transportation technology projects. While TTD supports an agency-wide approach to evaluating the regulatory challenges presented by new and emerging technologies, the agency’s success in meeting these challenges will hinge squarely on the direct involvement of labor unions. History has proven that strong unions and worker engagement are essential to mitigate the harms inherent in rapid technological changes to industries, and this is particularly true in the transportation sector, which has enjoyed relatively strong union density over the past century.

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Bill would create ‘no-fly’ list for unruly passengers

By Admin

Reported by Lori Aratani for the Washington Post.

Lawmakers introduced legislation Wednesday to create a “no-fly” list for unruly passengers, part of an effort to address the rise of violent incidents in airplanes.

Under “The Protection From Abusive Passengers Act” unveiled by Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), people convicted of assaulting crew members aboard an aircraft could be placed on a “no-fly” list that would be maintained by the Transportation Security Administration. Those individuals also could be barred from special programs that allow for expedited passenger screening, including TSA’s PreCheck program and Global Entry, which is managed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

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Transportation union wants federal action against Class 1 railroads’ attendance policies

By Admin

Reported by Joanna Marsh for Freightwaves.

The Transportation Trades Department (TTD) of the AFL-CIO is urging federal agencies to rein in Class I railroads’ attendance policies, which TTD says force union employees to work long hours without adequate rest.

TTD wants the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Transportation to determine whether the attendance policies should incur statutory or regulatory violations, according to a new policy brief issued by the group, whose leaders are meeting in Washington this week to formalize TTD’s policy and regulatory agenda.

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Opposing Abusive Railroad Attendance Policies

By Admin

For years, fatigue has persisted as one of the single greatest threats to railroad safety. An inability to concentrate, decreased situational awareness, and reduced reaction times when tasked with the operation of freight trains — including those carrying explosive, radioactive, and flammable cargoes — can turn deadly with a moment’s notice. Despite this, Class I railroads have continued to pursue abusive and punitive attendance policies that push employees past their physical limits, forcing them to choose between their livelihoods and performing their jobs safely. Union Pacific’s recent adoption of a draconian attendance policy followed by BNSF’s adoption and deployment of its “Hi-Viz” policy are the most recent and egregious entries into this race to the bottom. BNSF’s Hi-Viz, and other policies like it are not compatible with safe railroad operations, and it is essential that their existence does not persist.

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Strengthening the U.S. Maritime Industry for the Future

By Admin

Since President Biden assumed office a little more than a year ago, the Biden administration has taken several actions to review and address current U.S. supply chain disruptions caused in large measure by a global pandemic and compounded by years of failure on the part of our government to develop and implement a realistic national maritime policy. As the federal government and the commercial maritime industries work to build a more resilient supply chain, TTD urges Congress and the administration to implement a national maritime strategy that includes, among other things, core policies that increase the size of our U.S.-flag fleet and the amount of America’s trade carried by U.S.-flag ships, enhance and strengthen U.S.-flag cargo preference laws, fully fund the maritime and tanker security programs, and categorically reject flag-of-convenience and open registry schemes.

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The Shortchanging of Labor

By Admin

Since the start of the pandemic, news reports, lawmakers, and employers have referred to a so-called “labor shortage” as the cause of disruptions to our economy. Such rhetoric predates the pandemic by years and has particularly been used by employers looking to undermine safety or labor standards by claiming a lack of available workers creates an emergency of one kind or another. The pandemic, along with the resulting supply chain challenges, has only increased the focus on and the frequency of those claims. The truth is that, across our economy, long-standing corporate practices have eroded the pay, benefits, health and safety protections, workplace conditions, and quality of life for millions of working Americans and created strong disincentives for workers to remain with their current employer. The real shortage policymakers should be concerned with is the shortage of quality jobs with good pay and benefits in many of our industries.

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Remote Dispatching is Unsafe Dispatching

By Admin

Aircraft dispatchers play an essential role in the safety of aviation operations. In tandem with pilots and air traffic controllers, dispatchers work to ensure that aircraft take off and land safely, navigating weather, traffic, and other challenges. For this reason, the parameters of their work and working environment are highly regulated, to ensure that a dispatcher is able to carry out their duties to the highest standard.

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Building a Strong and Equitable Transportation Workforce

By Admin

Transportation labor unions have fought for decades to ensure that federal investments made in America’s transportation infrastructure are tied to strong policies that support and create good jobs and safe and equitable workplaces for America’s workers. We have also fought year after year to keep policies in place that ensured federal investments would never undermine the rights of workers and the value of their labor. Because of policies like prevailing wage, transit labor protections, rail employee protections, Buy America(n) and other domestic content provisions, and the Jones Act, millions of working families have enjoyed middle class incomes and benefits that allowed them to build stability and opportunity for their families. TTD is, and always will be, proud of this work.

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The Time is Now for Regulatory Action

By Admin

As we approach the halfway point of President Biden’s first term in office, transportation labor calls on the administration to continue prioritizing an ambitious regulatory agenda that delivers improved safety, creates good union jobs, and drives economic development. This includes promulgating regulations required by unmet mandates that have languished for years without appropriate attention, new regulatory requirements enacted by the historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), and forward-thinking proposals that address the safety and economic conditions of today’s transportation network.

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