America’s federal surface transportation program supports the world’s largest economy across a complex, multimodal network, inclusive of nearly 9 million miles of road, more than 600,000 bridges, and public transportation systems that support about 10 billion trips annually.
The beginning of the 116th Congress was marred by one of the most self-defeating legislative escapades of this century: the 35-day partial government shutdown. This shutdown, the longest in history, wreaked havoc on our transportation system, forced federal workers and contractors to stay at home or work without pay, and cost our economy billions of dollars that we will never get back. In the aviation sector alone, the strain placed on air traffic controllers, FAA safety inspectors and system specialists, and Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) undermined the safety and security standards that we know are critical to this network. Asking these and other federal workers to go without pay for over a month, not knowing when their next paycheck would come or how they would provide for their families, is simply unacceptable.
150 years ago this May 10th, Leland Stanford put the finishing touch on one of our nation’s crowning infrastructure achievements: the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad. The workers who built the railroad would likely have been unable to imagine the vast, interconnected transportation network we enjoy today, complete with cars, highways, subways and air travel. Yet as we approach the sesquicentennial of the Golden Spike, rail remains a vital part of our transportation network and an important economic driver.
At a time when working people are turning to collective action to amplify their voice at a level not seen in years, and as our economy remains plagued by seemingly immovable wage inequality, federal officials should pursue policies to protect the rights of employees to come together and bargain collectively. Instead, two of the three members of the National Mediation Board (NMB) are taking the exact opposite approach at the expense of aviation and rail workers covered by the Railway Labor Act (RLA). In early 2019, the NMB proposed a rule intended to make it easier to remove unions from worksites already represented and covered by a collective bargaining agreement. While board members in favor of the rule talk about the need to ensure “freedom of association among employees,” we know this is just another attempt at union busting and has no place in any serious discussion about how to grow and support good middle-class jobs.
In 2017 alone, 10,615 victims of human trafficking were identified by reports to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. When traveling, those victims may appear fearful, anxious, or submissive. They may show signs of physical abuse, exhaustion, or confinement; or simply present poor hygiene. Often, they will not handle their own travel documents and will avoid contact with other travelers or authorities. While these indicators of human trafficking may go unnoticed by the general public, well-trained transportation workers are in a powerful position to see what is hidden in plain sight.
In the fall of last year, Congress achieved an increasingly rare feat: passage of a major, long-term reauthorization bill with overwhelming bipartisan majorities. The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 is a shining example of what can be accomplished when partisan bickering is set aside and lawmakers come together to advance policies that will benefit the American people. The bill made critical investments in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Airspace System (NAS), and included several provisions long fought for by TTD and its affiliates that will advance aviation safety and improve working conditions for employees. As a result, the bill was endorsed by transportation labor as well as much of industry, and was ultimately passed 398-23 in the House and 93-6 in the Senate and was signed into law on October 5, 2018.
Despite years of protest, thousands of U.S. airline catering workers remain in poverty. Primarily serving American, United and Delta, unionized airline catering workers make as low as $8.40 an hour and a majority earn less than $15, including hundreds with over 30 years of experience. Only 34% of workers at the two largest airline-catering subcontractors were covered by employer-provided health insurance in 2018. Workers are demanding that One Job Should Be Enough for them to survive. Poverty must end in this industry once and for all, and workers must be able to afford healthcare for themselves and their families without relying on government aid.
When President Obama signed into law the 2012 FAA Reauthorization Act it marked the end of a years-long saga that included 23 short term extensions and a two-week partial FAA shutdown that cost the federal government $30 million a day and furloughed thousands of employees. Now in the fall of 2018, aviation workers who rely […]
Like most Americans, each day tens of thousands of bus operators will wake up and go to work. They will facilitate 34 million trips, carrying their fellow Americans to and from their jobs, school, the supermarket, or to see a family member or loved one. They will help create opportunity for a struggling family that […]
In recent months, an American rail carrier, Kansas City Southern Railway (KCSR), has launched a two-pronged effort to move rail operations and jobs to Mexico. KCSR has already received permission from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to begin replacing American train crews with crews from Mexico on trips across the border. KCSR also recently requested […]
The needs of working people must take center stage in COVID-19 policy debatesRead More