On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I am pleased to respond to the Federal Railroad Administration’s request for comment on its petition for waiver of compliance from Union Pacific Railroad Company. TTD consists of 33 affiliate unions representing workers in all modes of transportation, including employees who operate trains and carmen who perform brake inspections. We therefore have a vested interest in this policy.
Mr. Karl Alexy Associate Administrator for Railroad Safety & Chief Safety Officer Federal Railroad Administration 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE Washington DC, 20590 RE: UP Waiver of Compliance, Simulator Training Docket No. FRA-2021-0042 On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I am pleased to respond to the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) request for […]
On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I am pleased to respond to the Department of Transportation’s request for comment on its notice entitled Notification of Regulatory Review. TTD consists of 33 affiliate unions representing workers in all modes of transportation. We therefore have a vested interest in this policy.
On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I am pleased to respond to FRA’s request for comment on the Petition for Waiver of Compliance submitted by Union Pacific Railroad Company. TTD consists of 33 affiliate unions representing workers in all modes of transportation, including rail workers who conduct pre-departure inspections, service, and operate trains. We therefore have a vested interest in this policy.
On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), and our 33 affiliated unions, I want to thank Chair Schakowsky and Ranking Member Bilirakis for inviting me to participate in today’s hearing. I also want to acknowledge that, while not an affiliate of TTD’s, we have worked closely with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters on automated vehicle (AV) policy, and my testimony fairly characterizes our shared positions on this topic. Hundreds of thousands of union members face a future of technology-enabled change and their voices must be a part of any debate over the deployment of AV and other transportation technologies.
Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are often touted for their potential to increase safety, improve transportation access, produce environmental benefits, and create new American jobs in the manufacturing and technology sectors. Yet, for all the benefits touted by its cheerleaders, we too often overlook the serious impacts AVs will have on workers, safety, and equity if not properly regulated by the federal government. Reports estimate that as many as 3 million transportation workers may lose their jobs, face a severe degradation of their wages and bargaining power, or otherwise have their job functions fundamentally altered by self-driving vehicle technology.
On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD) and our 33 affiliated unions, who together represent millions of workers across all sectors of the transportation industry, I urge you to oppose Senator Thune’s automated vehicles (AV) amendment to the Endless Frontier Act if he requests a vote in today’s committee markup.
The strength of the U.S.-flagged, U.S-crewed merchant marine fleet continues to be an essential linchpin for economic security, military readiness, and the availability of good jobs with strong wages and benefits in the domestic maritime industry. However, for decades, the U.S. fleet and U.S. mariners have been buffeted by Flag of Convenience shipping models, shifting economic and military climates, and missed policy opportunities. Bold decisions and investments will be necessary to guarantee the enduring viability and growth in the U.S. maritime sector. With strong leadership from the Biden administration and recent Congressional action, it is apparent that we have arrived at a unique opportunity for transformational growth and increased ability to compete for a larger share of America’s foreign trade.
Since 1975, the Fly America Act has required that when federal employees and their dependents, contractors, grantees, and property travel internationally on trips financed by the federal government, they do so on U.S.-flagged air carriers. Like many other laws and regulations in the transportation sectors that require some form of domestic preference, the requirement seeks to combat unfair competitive practices that U.S. carriers encounter in many of the countries where they operate, including the financial subsidization of carriers by their host country. These requirements ensure that federal spending on travel brings positive economic impacts to both domestic air carriers and their employees. As such, the Fly America Act represents a strong example of the policies touted by the President’s Made in America Executive Order, and we call on the administration and Congress to take action to uphold the Act’s requirements.
In the halls of Congress and the Executive Branch, at the bargaining table, and during international trade negotiations, labor unions have long been the vanguard of the fight for legal and regulatory regimes that promote workplace safety, guarantee dignified employment conditions, and provide fair wages and benefits. For an equal amount of time, unscrupulous corporations and other actors have sought to undermine these core tenets. Today, the airline industry and its workforce faces a pernicious and existential threat from so-called “Flag of Convenience” (FOC) air carriers and other forms of labor arbitrage operating under novel corporate structures designed to skirt these key responsibilities and undermine competition.
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