For Immediate Release
For Further Information Contact
Transportation Labor Applauds Passage of Kerry Amendment
WASHINGTON, DC — The following statement was issued today by Edward Wytkind, President of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), commending the Senate on passage of Senator John Kerry’s bi-partisan amendment to the port security legislation, H.R. 4954, requiring mandatory training for all port workers.
“The passage of Senator Kerry’s bi-partisan amendment to ensure that tens of thousands of port workers are properly prepared in the event of a terrorist threat or attack is long overdue. Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, our calls for strong and mandatory security training for front-line port workers have been ignored by this Administration. Fortunately, the Senate is listening.
“Senators have now embraced this essential element of port security. The Kerry Amendment requires that the Department of Homeland Security establish and implement a meaningful worker security training program, utilize the expertise of various training partners, and mandate that terminal operators establish a strategy and timeline for conducting training as an element of facility security plans. We strongly urge adoption of this language in the final legislation sent to the President.
“Without the Kerry amendment the port security bill left the training of port employees to the discretion of the same agency that has refused to act in this area for five years. The fact is that most port workers have received little or no information about how to respond to a security breach at our ports. As the first people on the scene, well trained workers at ports can be used to help mitigate damage, assist first responders, and provide post-incident information. It has been proven that given the opportunity to opt out of full scale training and exercises, terminal operators have chosen the easy and cheaper route every time.
“Port workers must be prepared and worker training is a sound investment of security dollars. Port employees should not have to wait any longer for the security training they need and deserve.”
Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), a Washington, D.C.-based labor organization, represents several million transportation workers in the private and public sector. The 31 member unions of TTD work in aviation, bus, mass transit, rail, trucking, highway, longshore, maritime and related industries. TTD works with Congress and the Executive Branch including the transportation related Federal Agencies to protect good jobs, increase wages, defend workers’ rights, increase transportation safety plus security and ensure adequate funding for our nation’s transportation infrastructure. Under the umbrella of the AFL-CIO, which represents more than 9 million workers in the United States, TTD handles policy and legislative issues related to transportation. Visit www.ttd.org for more information.