Whether moving freight across America’s heartland or safely transporting people on intercity passenger or commuter rail, the skilled workers who operate and maintain our national rail system have played a vital role in moving our nation’s economy for decades. Throughout the 20th century, the federal government enacted a series of laws that recognize the importance of rail to our country and addressed the unique needs of a workforce that performs difficult and often dangerous jobs. One such law, enacted in 1937, created the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), which specifically addressed the post-career needs of railroad workers after decades of a haphazard private pension system. Wholly funded by railroad workers and the nation’s railroads, RRB benefits play an important role in the lives of current and retired railroad workers and their families. Today, however, the agency is facing a crisis, as staffing shortages and insufficient resources have severely degraded service at a time when rail workers and their families need it most.
Over six years ago this Executive Committee called upon Congress and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to grant full federal employee rights to the 45,000 Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) who keep our nation’s airways, mass transit systems and large public gatherings safe and secure. Unfortunately, our call to action has gone unheeded and the intervening years have strengthened our resolve to give these workers the rights they deserve. With the longest ever government shutdown, massive turnover, and the lowest employee morale in the federal workforce, policy makers are letting TSOs down. Now is the time to correct the injustice against the workers who play such a vital role protecting travelers and transportation workers alike.
Approximately 400,000 Americans work in the public transportation sector. Of those, 90 percent serve in frontline occupations that include bus and rail transit operators, station employees, mechanics, and other non-management positions. Yet, federal policy has failed to support the training needs of the frontline transit workforce, risking major workforce shortages and skill gaps in the coming years.
The automotive industry has long been a cornerstone of American manufacturing jobs. Nearly one million people work in the auto and auto-parts manufacturing sectors, and when jobs from other linked industries are included, the auto industry is responsible for over seven million jobs nationwide. Yet, over the past fifteen years, automotive production workers’ wages have fallen significantly here at home. In fact, when adjusting for inflation, average hourly earnings for production workers in auto assembly have declined 23 percent, while wages in the auto parts sector have declined 22 percent.
Every other day, someone loses his or her life at one of the nation’s 211,000 grade crossings – another 840 are injured and the FRA reports a total of over 2,000 collisions. These accidents and fatalities have devastating and long-lasting consequences for victims, their families, and front-line rail workers who know that more can be […]
Vote YES on the Rights for Transportation Security Officers Act Dear Representative: On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I urge you to vote YES on H.R. 1140, the Rights for Transportation Security Officers Act, when it is considered on the House floor this week. I further urge you to vote no on […]
On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), and our 33 affiliated unions, I want to first thank Chairman Crapo and Ranking Member Brown for inviting me to testify before the Senate Banking Committee this morning.
I have no doubt that we will hear about the critical funding needs of our public transportation system today. You will hear the same from me. I have no doubt that we will hear about the important lifeline transit systems provide to urban and rural communities alike. About the value they provide to American businesses, who count on transit to move employees and customers to and from their stores on main streets across this country every day. I stand by all of my friends on this panel and share their support when they talk about the importance of public transportation and its unmet funding needs.
Investing in American Infrastructure is an Investment in American Competitiveness
In the news and here in Washington, D.C., we most often frame discussions about trade in the context of creating or modifying international trade agreements. Those discussions have traditionally put working Americans in a defensive position. We fight to ensure good manufacturing and service jobs – the kind that prop up communities and ensure a chance at a middle-class life – are not sent overseas. We fight to ensure those jobs are not undercut by unfair or unenforced labor practices in countries like China or Mexico. We work tirelessly to claw back against false promises that opportunity and American competitiveness will trickle down to working families while wealthy CEOs sit in corporate boardrooms counting their profits.
Dear Representative: On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, I urge you to support H.R. 2474, the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act and oppose any efforts to weaken the bill through an amendment or a motion to recommit. This important and bipartisan legislation provides American workers the necessary protections to join together to collectively bargain for fair pay, better benefits, and safe working conditions without fear or intimidation.
Dear Representative: On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I urge you to vote in favor of H.R.2382, the USPS Fairness Act. This critical bipartisan legislation would repeal the destructive and unprecedented 2006 retiree health benefits prefunding mandate imposed on the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).
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