Last week, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx launched a new initiative urging transportation workers to introduce young people to jobs in their respective industries.
The Ladders of Opportunity – The Future Workforce Initiative aims to change the employment landscape for millennials by encouraging students to look to the transportation industry for work. The timing couldn’t be better. Currently, nearly half of men and women between the ages of 16 and 24 are unemployed, but according to Secretary Foxx, the transportation industry will experience a significant workforce turnover in the coming decade. Over the next 10 years, more than 50 percent of those currently working in transportation will be eligible for retirement.
We applaud Secretary Foxx for his leadership on this important issue. We also urge transportation workers who belong to unions to take the challenge one step further by educating young people about the value of union membership.
Thanks to unions, many in the transportation sector are paid good wages, experience safe working conditions and have retirement security — all benefits secured by the power of collective bargaining. In addition, unions fight for the creation of laws and policies that expand transportation investments, reject perverse trade policies and oppose outsourcing and privatization schemes designed to weaken the rights and lower the wages of working people. The union difference is substantial, and unionized transportation workers have an obligation to teach younger workers these important lessons.
By teaming up with Secretary Foxx on this critical initiative, we can develop a skilled and diverse transportation workforce, create good, middle-class jobs and show young Americans that the transportation industry offers meaningful career opportunities. We can also show them that decades of collective bargaining in these industries have raised the bar on job quality and security.
Take the pledge. Introduce a student to a job in transportation and show him or her the economic power of a union voice.