As Congress continues to develop its responses to the COVID-19 crisis, the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), has called for bold and immediate policy prescriptions that seek to keep our nation’s transportation systems running by supporting the millions of frontline workers employed across all modes of transportation. It is non-negotiable that any aid package must prioritize the livelihoods, health, and safety of these workers, and we will staunchly oppose efforts that fail to do so.
On behalf of the undersigned labor organizations representing aviation employees, we write to you regarding the importance of ensuring that any proposed relief package for the airline industry is centered on the needs of employees.
As government leaders respond to the widespread transmission of COVID-19, the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD) has laid out a broad agenda urging lawmakers to address the immediate and long-term health and economic effects caused by COVID-19 on our transportation workforce – one of the largest job sectors in the country. TTD is focused on all modes of the transportation industry, and will be reaching out in the coming hours and days to share our individual priorities.
The people who build, operate and maintain our nation’s transportation systems are struggling, as are most Americans, with the scope and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The spread of the disease does not appear to be slowing down, and it is clear that this is not only a public health crisis, but also an economic one. As the elected leaders of transportation unions we are calling on federal policymakers to take decisive action to address both the immediate and long-term health and economic effects caused by COVID-19. Critically, any solutions must focus on helping frontline workers who are bearing the brunt of the outbreak from both a health and economic perspective.
On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I am pleased to provide comments on the Canadian Pacific Railway’s (CP) petition for a waiver of compliance from the “hands-on” component of periodic refresher training required by 49 CFR 232.203(b)(8). By way of background, TTD consists of 33 affiliate unions, including unions representing freight rail workers. In responding to this notice, TTD strongly endorses the comments filed by the Transport Workers Union of America and the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen Division of the Transportation Communications Union/IAM
America’s ports and harbors are a core driver of domestic and international trade, generating $5.6 trillion dollars in economic activity — approximately a quarter of the entire U.S. economy. The operation of ports and the vessels that call at them directly generate thousands of jobs in the longshore, maritime, dredging, shipbuilding and freight transportation industries, and an untold number of jobs indirectly throughout the supply chain. Despite this, ports and harbors are frequently left out of the infrastructure conversation, and have been historically underserved by federal initiatives.
The technological achievements that enable modern transportation are often stunning in scope and vision. High-speed trains, electric buses, and intricate transit systems give Americans mobility options that would have been unthinkable just a few generations before. Of course, nothing has shrunk the world as dramatically as modern air travel. Yet, even if we stop to marvel at our collective ability to board a metal tube and fly off to the farthest corners of the earth in mere hours, we too often take for granted some of the more basic advancements that allow for commercial air travel.
On June 5th of this year, we will celebrate the centennial of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, commonly referred to as the Jones Act. Principally, the Act ensures that domestic waterborne commerce is conducted by U.S. built ships crewed with qualified U.S mariners. It is rare that any piece of legislation stands as the bedrock of an industry for so long – the Jones Act was passed just a few months after Prohibition, and 15 years before the creation of Social Security. Yet its continued endurance is a testimony to its unparalleled importance to the domestic sectors it supports. Today, it has never been clearer why the Jones Act is necessary and why policy makers’ long-held support for it must not waver.
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.
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