FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Patrick Tobin
Presidential candidates Clinton, Biden and Kucinich confirmed to attend, provide support
WASHINGTON, DC – On May 17, thousands of transportation workers will rally on the National Mall to say “Enough is Enough” to the federal government’s all-talk, no-action policies that place profits ahead of safety and security, and corporate needs ahead of workers.
In the Day of Action, members from dozens of unions and other organizations, led by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), will call attention to the flawed management practices and partisan politics on the national level that are threatening jobs, safety and security in the transportation industry.
“Transportation labor cannot sit quietly by as failed administration policies erode our jobs, pensions and benefits,” said Robert Roach, Jr., IAM General Vice President. The May 17 Day of Action will highlight a new course for transportation labor. The rally will demand change and ask presidential candidates to:
- Appoint individuals who support workers’ rights to national labor boards, such as the National Mediation Board (NMB)
- Protect and defend workers’ pensions
- Promote and enhance Amtrak, America’s passenger rail system
- Support aviation legislation that ensures good jobs in the private and public sector, honors workers’ bargaining rights and strengthens the safety and security of the aviation system
- Fight for laws that would make security training mandatory for front-line transportation workers
- Counter the effects of globalization on the transportation industry which include outsourced jobs and threatened safety and security standards
- Boost investment in our public transportation, highway system, and ports
Our nation’s highways, aviation, railroad and transit systems, airports, ports, and waterways provide the backbone of our economy by moving people and goods. In 2005, transportation-related goods and services accounted for 10.6 percent of the total U.S. Gross Domestic Product. “American transportation workers operate, maintain and build the largest and most sophisticated transportation network in the world,” said Edward Wytkind, President of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO. “We will support elected leaders who commit to supporting a strong transportation network and its workers.”
Airline workers have endured job loss, bankruptcies, outsourcing of jobs and pension losses as a result of poor management and an administration that made workers’ sacrifice a requirement of a post 9/11 aid package. For more than seven years, Amtrak management has withheld reasonable wage increases for workers by blaming unpredictable federal funding for the carrier. Despite Bush Administration rhetoric about protecting our nation from terrorist threats, security training is still not required for most transportation workers. Rail safety laws haven’t been updated since they expired in 1998 due to stonewalling from the multibillion-dollar rail industry lobby. And globalization has led to outsourced jobs, but also threatened safety and security.
For years, the Bush Administration has allowed the transportation sector to erode through subtle neglect and overt partisanship. Labor-management negotiations for rail and airline workers in the country are overseen by the NMB. Under the Bush Administration, this White House-appointed board has become notoriously pro-management. By allowing negotiations to stagnate and failing to intervene when needed, the NMB has consistently failed transportation workers and made a mockery of our labor laws.
Intent on addressing these issues and making transportation labor’s voice heard, 2008 presidential candidates have been invited to address the May 17 Day of Action. The rally will feature speeches by notable labor leaders and allow candidates seeking the support of transportation workers to affirm their commitment to workers and a strong transportation industry. All are invited to attend and lend their support in advocating that “Enough is Enough.”