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Rail deal awaits workers’ sign-off as strike fears wane

By Admin

As the White House on Thursday celebrated a tentative agreement to avert a nationwide rail strike that could have devastated the economy, union officials cautioned that not everything is signed, sealed and delivered.

Most crucial in the days ahead: Workers across a dozen unions need to vote to ratify the compromise.

“There’s going to be a lot of work to do after today,” AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department President Greg Regan said. “This was a big breakthrough, and we can take a day to reflect on it.” Yet “I don’t want to kid anybody here.”

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‘Could have gone either way’: Railroad union deal barely survived

By Admin

Reported by Ben White and Eleanor Mueller for Politico.

President Joe Biden narrowly avoided an economic and political debacle on Thursday as senior administration officials helped salvage a tentative, last-minute deal to avert a devastating railroad strike.

And it almost didn’t happen.

Steering clear of disaster required some 20 straight hours of talks beginning Wednesday that taxed Labor Department coffee supplies, kept West Wing office lights burning through the early hours and left everyone involved bleary-eyed and largely sleepless.

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FTA Must Count Every Worker Assault

By Admin

On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I am pleased to provide comments on the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) proposed changes regarding National Transit Database (NTD) safety and security reporting. TTD consists of 37 affiliate unions and their workers, including transit operators, maintenance workers, and other operations personnel. TTD endorses the comments by our affiliates, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU), which are also filed in this docket.[1] In particular, as stated by ATU, implementation of data collection must capture both physical and other forms of assault.

The proposed changes would incorporate the updated definition of “assault on a transit worker” for the purposes of NTD reporting. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law amended 49 U.S.C. 5302(1) to define “assault on a transit worker” as a “circumstance in which an individual knowingly, without lawful authority or permission, and with intent to endanger the safety of any individual, or with a reckless disregard for the safety of human life, interferes with, disables, or incapacitates a transit worker while the transit worker is performing the duties of the transit worker.”

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TTD voices support for Primus renomination to Surface Transportation Board

By Admin

The Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO has offered its support for Surface Transportation Board vice chairman Robert Primus, who is seeking to serve a second term on the STB.

“During his current term, Mr. Primus has demonstrated an expert understanding of the economic state of the railroad industry, including widespread service and staffing issues,” TTD President Greg Regan wrote in a letter to members of the Senate. “… Member Primus has been a leader in ensuring that the STB takes all necessary steps to address the numerous challenges in our freight rail system. Further, Mr. Primus understands the need to exercise the STB’s oversight authority to improve service for rail customers, grow the freight rail workforce, and bring long-term stability to the freight rail system.”

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TTD Urges Biden to Renominate Captain Moak to USPS Board of Governors

By Admin

On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I offer my strong support for Captain Donald L. Moak to serve another term on the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service (USPS).

The USPS Board of Governors was established by Congress more than 50 years ago to direct the powers of the Postal Service, and to oversee its expenditures, practices, and long-range planning, and to set policies on all postal matters. As a labor federation representing workers in all modes of transportation, including the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), whose members drive the country’s largest federal fleet, TTD has a vested interest in ensuring the Board promotes the safety, security, and welfare of the Postal Service’s workers. Given Captain Moak’s current service on the Board and his long and distinguished career in union labor, we know he is more than qualified to be reappointed to serve a second term.

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Deadline to avoid a national rail strike which could cost economy $2 billion a day is near

By Admin

On the heels of the latest round of labor negotiations between the National Mediation Board, unions, and freight railroads, the Association of American Railroads has released a report projecting that the economic impact of a nationwide railroad strike could be more than $2 billion a day.

So far, five of the 12 unions, representing 21,000 employees, have reached voluntary agreements with the railroads. The expiration of the 30-day cooling-off period when unions can walk off the job is midnight on September 16. There are just under 115,000 Class I railroad employees in the U.S., according to August data.

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TTD urges Senate to confirm STB Member Robert Primus for Another Term

By Admin

On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I offer my strong support for Robert Primus to serve another term on the Surface Transportation Board (STB). I urge the Members of the Senate Commerce Committee to favorably report his nomination out of the Committee and encourage his confirmation by the full Senate.

In 1996, Congress established the STB as the successor to the Interstate Commerce Commission and tasked it with the economic regulation of freight rail. The STB operated in alignment with the U.S. Department of Transportation until Congress deemed it a wholly independent federal agency through the 2015 STB Reauthorization Act.

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Potential rail strike threatens to kneecap US economy ahead of midterms

By Admin

A potential nationwide freight rail strike is looming, threatening to cripple the U.S. economy ahead of the holiday shopping season and November’s midterm elections.

Roughly 115,000 rail workers could walk off the job as soon as Sept. 16 if they cannot agree to a new contract with railroads.

That’s the first day workers could legally strike after a White House-appointed panel released collective bargaining recommendations aimed at ending years of contentious negotiations.

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A US Freight Rail Crisis Threatens More Supply Chain Chaos

By Admin

Reported by Caitlin Harrington for Wired.

EARLY THIS SUMMER, farmers worried that millions of chickens in California’s Central Valley might soon peck each other to death. The birds were running perilously low on feed, which should have been delivered by Union Pacific Railroad from Midwestern corn producers. Foster Farms needed at least nine trainloads of corn each month to feed its tens of millions of chickens and turkeys, plus tens of thousands of dairy cows at its California facilities. But the trains weren’t showing up. Chickens can’t go long without eating—they become aggressive and turn to cannibalism—and if the feed didn’t arrive soon, the mega-flock would have to be euthanized.

Executives at Foster Farms began behaving like, well, chickens with their heads cut off. “Your failure to deliver is about to kill millions of chickens,” one incensed vice president at the company emailed a director at Union Pacific. “These dead animals will have to be picked up in dump trucks and taken to the local dumps. This is going to be an animal disaster, [and an] economic and media nightmare.”

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Bus drivers, flight attendants say they’re feeling less safe

By Admin

Reported by Colin Staub for NW Labor Press.

“If it moves, we represent the people who build, operate and maintain it.” That’s how AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department President Greg Regan describes his member unions. Transportation Trades Department is a national coalition of 37 unions that represent workers across all modes of transportation, including pilots, flight attendants, ground crew, air traffic controllers, freight and passenger rail workers, longshoremen, and maritime workers.

Regan, 38, was elected to lead it in 2021 after five years on Capitol Hill and 10 years at AFL-CIO headquarters working his way up in the Transportation Trades. Transportation Trades is one of six AFL-CIO trades departments.

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