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Transportation Labor Applauds Mandatory Front-Line Worker Security Training
Washington, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed a long-overdue bill that addresses unmet security needs in rail, transit and bus transportation. Transportation unions have fought since Sept. 11 to better secure the U.S. transportation network by making security training for rail and public transit employees mandatory.
“Rail, subway and bus systems are real terrorist targets, and Congress took an important step today to secure key vulnerabilities,” said Edward Wytkind, President of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO. “Attacks on transportation systems in Madrid, Moscow, London, and Mumbai should have taught us important lessons. We must be prepared, and mandatory worker training is critical to preparedness.”
In addition to making security training mandatory for workers, the bill provides $7.3 billion to address unmet security needs. The bill also provides needed whistleblower protections for workers who report security risks.
“No one should have to choose between job security and the security of our transportation system,” Wytkind said.
A recent survey by the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) found that 60 percent of its members have had no security training. Freight rail employees report they have received virtually no security training at all. If they do receive training, the content varies widely, consisting of pamphlets or poorly produced training videos that are not job-specific and do little more than ask employees to be vigilant. Transportation Labor has argued that unless national standards are established and training is made mandatory, basic security protocols will not be implemented across the board. More than five years after Sept. 11, $9 is spent to protect every aviation passenger yet only 1 cent is spent to protect every rail and transit passenger.
An amendment offered by Rep. Stephen Lynch was an important addition to gauge the effectiveness of the training this bill requires.
“Workers deserve comprehensive security training and the freedom to identify security risks without fear of retribution. Travelers and the general public deserve a workforce that is equipped for today’s realities,” Wytkind said. “We thank Chairman Bennie Thompson, Ranking Member Peter King, and Transportation & Infrastructure Chairman Jim Oberstar for their leadership.”