Since the first U.S. freight trains departed from Baltimore nearly 200 years ago, the freight rail industry has served as the backbone of domestic commerce, providing reliable, safe and responsive service and in the process creating and sustaining good union jobs. The success of the rail industry is premised on the fair treatment and utilization of its frontline workforce, balanced economic regulations and an expectation that railroads will meet their service obligations. Unfortunately, the introduction of an operating model known as Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR) threatens to weaken these conditions and undermines our freight rail industry.
After more than ten years and a staggering 36 short-term extensions since the last multi-year surface transportation bill in 2006, then-President Obama signed into law the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act—a five-year reauthorization of our federal surface transportation program—in December 2015.
Whether operating in the dense Northeast Corridor, providing long-distance service that connects rural communities and urban hubs, or partnering with states on regional routes, our intercity passenger rail network is a vital transportation link for millions of people. The service Amtrak provides creates economic growth, reduces congestion on our roadways, and brings the nation closer together.
On February 12, 2009, Colgan Air flight 3407 crashed into a suburban neighborhood in Western NY, killing all 49 people on board and one person on the ground. An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) later revealed that pilot fatigue likely played an important role in inhibiting the pilots’ ability to respond to the adverse conditions that night. By government regulatory standards, the response to this disaster was swift. In 2010, Congress passed the Airline Safety and FAA Extension Act, and in 2011, the DOT and the FAA implemented new rules on airline pilot flight- and duty-time limitations and minimum rest requirements. These science-based rules marked a major step forward in making air travel safer by, among other things, increasing the minimum rest hours required for pilots before flights and setting flight duty limits based on time of day, as well as the number of takeoffs and landings performed by a pilot during each duty period. These reforms helped address the chronic fatigue that plagues our nation’s pilots.
As policymakers and stakeholders continue to negotiate the terms of the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA), we, the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers – Transportation Division (SMART-TD), and the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), write to bring your attention to a thus unresolved issue concerning freight rail service between the United States and Mexico and the disparate treatment of rail workers under current law. 
Dear Chairman Inhofe, Ranking Member Reed, Chairman Smith and Ranking Member Thornberry: On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I express my strenuous opposition to language being considered for inclusion in the FY ‘20 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that strips collective bargaining rights from U.S. mariners serving on United States-flag vessels participating in the Maritime Security Program (MSP) operating under an Emergency Preparedness Agreement. As drafted, the proposal would allow an MSP carrier, receiving taxpayer funded stipends, to unilaterally abandon its bargained obligations as it relates to crewing MSP vessels and would allow the Department of Transportation (DOT) to prohibit a labor organization from representing these mariners if the agency decides the union is not adequately acquiescing to the carrier’s demands.
On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I urge you to support the Full Utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Act (H.R. 2440) when it is considered under suspension on Monday, October 28th. This bipartisan legislation has been introduced by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO), Subcommittee Chair Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Subcommittee Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-AR) and Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA). TTD has previously endorsed H.R. 2440, and we strongly support its passage by the full House.
On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I am pleased to respond to FRA’s request for comment on Norfolk Southern’s (NS) petition for a waiver of compliance concerning employee injury/illness forms. TTD consists of 33 affiliate unions representing workers in all modes of transportation, including freight rail employees whose workplace injuries and illness are reported and documented via the regulation NS seeks relief from.
On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I am pleased to respond to FMCSA’s request for comment on its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding changes to the agency’s hours of service regulations. TTD consists of 33 affiliate unions representing workers in all modes of transportation, including thousands of commercial motor vehicle drivers who will be impacted by these proposed changes. We therefore have a vested interest in this rulemaking.
In the NPRM, FMCSA proposes five major changes to its current HOS regulations. This includes modifications to current requirements concerning the short haul exemption, drive time limits during adverse driving conditions, the 30-minute rest break, the use of sleeper berths, and a new proposal on split duty.
Dear Chairman Blunt and Ranking Member Murray: On behalf of the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and the Rail Labor Division (RLD) of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), we urge you to fully fund the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) in the fiscal year (FY) 2020 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) appropriations bill. Specifically, we ask that any conference report include no less than the House-passed RRB funding level of $135.5 million for administration of the Railroad Retirement Act and the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act. Of that total, we support the RRB’s no year funding request that up to $13,460,000 be allocated for crucial and overdue information technology (IT) modernization projects.
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