WASHINGTON, DC—Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), issued this statement in response to the May jobs report released today.
“The May jobs figures released today are disappointing for millions of unemployed Americans. Lawmakers in Washington must stop stonewalling jobs creating initiatives and then pointing fingers at the President for not doing enough to create jobs.
“For too long Washington gridlock has strangled our economy as too many lawmakers have pushed partisan agendas at the expense of real job creation. I’m sure the politicians including the presumptive Republican nominee for President will blame President Obama for today’s anemic job numbers.
“Those claims should be dismissed as history rewriting.
“When the President took office he inherited an economy that under President Bush was bleeding 750,000 jobs a month. President Obama’s response to the collapsing economy was to push for passage of economic recovery legislation – a chance for our elected leaders to mobilize together around a plan to head off what some feared could be another Great Depression.
“We were disappointed that it took a unified Democratic House and Senate – without a single House Republican vote – to pass a plan and inject billions into a failing economy. As a result, just the transportation stimulus projects enacted as part of that bill created and maintained hundreds of thousands of jobs.
“The aviation modernization and jobs bill was held up for years because certain Republicans employed hostage-taking strategies in an attempt to repeal fair aviation and rail union election rules on behalf of anti-union airlines. The results of these tactics were severe delays in initiatives to create jobs, transform to a next generation aviation system, modernize and expand our airports and reform air safety policies.
“The pending surface transportation reauthorization is the same story all over again. This jobs bill is being held hostage by too many lawmakers who want to score political points with their political base rather than inject billions into our failing highways, bridges and transit systems. The House has a chance to embrace the spending levels in the bipartisan Senate bill, MAP-21, which would support up to 3 million jobs. Instead Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) will likely offer a motion next week on the House floor that would cut billions from highway and mass transit programs and put hundreds of thousands on the unemployment lines.
“Last year the President sought to pass the American Jobs Act, which would spend, among other vital investments, $50 billion on transportation improvement projects. Unfortunately Republicans blocked that initiative which today would be employing hundreds of thousands more Americans.
“Congress has a chance to accelerate job creation in the private sector. But first, it must put the nation’s interests above political party interests. The story we will be telling to our members nationwide is a simple one: the President wants to spend half a trillion dollars to modernize our transportation system while too many in Congress are stonewalling transportation and other jobs-creating proposals and using soft jobs reports to politically attack the President. These political games must end for the good of the nation.”
The Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, represents 32 member unions in the aviation, rail, transit, motor carrier, highway, longshore, maritime and related industries. For more information, visit us at www.ttd.org or on Facebook and Twitter.