For Immediate Release
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WASHINGTON, DC — The following statement was issued today by Edward Wytkind, President of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), regarding legislation introduced by Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, and Corrine Brown (D-FL), Ranking Member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee that would ensure preparation to prevent and respond to terrorist attacks on our rail and mass transit systems:
“On this anniversary of the terrorist attacks in London’s mass transit system, it is disgraceful that our government has failed to secure the nation’s mass transit and rail systems or mandate training for our members.
“Congressman Thompson and Congresswoman Brown recently introduced legislation that would finally prioritize security on our nation’s rails, trains and buses. The legislation creates a dedicated multi-year funding stream and recognizes the value that front-line employees bring to security.
“Employee security training becomes mandatory, whistleblower protections are enhanced so workers can report security breaches without fear of reprisal, and the government must seek input from employees as it implements new security initiatives. We can no longer rely on “voluntary” practices or allow workers to be kept in the dark about security procedures.
“Recent budgets have spent $9 per passenger for aviation security as opposed to one penny per rail/mass transit passenger. Meanwhile, each weekday, 11.3 million passengers in 35 metropolitan areas and 22 states use some form of rail or mass transit. In 2004, Americans rode buses 5.7 billion times.
“The time is now for the federal government to stop treating these important modes of transportation like the red headed step child. The House should pass this important legislation without delay.”
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.