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 […]
Proponents of “free trade” have long argued that the lowering of trade barriers between nations sparks economic growth by providing cheaper goods for consumers at home and opening new markets for U.S. products abroad. However, those of us in the labor movement have long understood that the realities of free trade rarely live up to the promise. The decks are too often stacked against U.S. workers, and free trade agreements too often allow multi-national corporations to exploit workers throughout the world—all in search of increased profits. Furthermore, the “protections” built into agreements are so rarely enforced as to render them meaningless.
Our nation’s early history and sustained economic growth are intertwined with the use of waterborne transportation to move goods and people to both key population centers and rural communities. Yet today, domestic maritime services are significantly underutilized even as our surface transportation network struggles to keep up with demand and as the U.S. maritime and shipbuilding industries seek out new commercial opportunities. By supporting the deployment of a short sea shipping industry—the use of commercial vessels for the carriage of commodities along American’s seacoasts and inland waterways—we can create good U.S. jobs, enhance sound environmental and energy policies and relieve congestion on existing highways. All with minimal cost to the federal taxpayers.
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.