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Transportation Labor Leaders call for COVID relief now

Washington, DC – Facing a worsening public health and economic crisis, widespread gender and racial inequality, and an economy that overwhelmingly favors the wealthy, the leaders of 33 transportation unions gathered today to set an aggressive agenda for the new Congress and incoming Biden administration.

The meeting of the Executive Committee of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, (TTD), held virtually, comes less than two weeks after the historic election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, in which working people overcame a global pandemic and barriers to vote to elect the most pro-union, pro-transportation ticket in modern history. As labor leaders prepare to welcome President-elect Biden to the White House, securing immediate economic relief and workplace health and safety protections for frontline workers remains a top priority for TTD’s Executive Committee.

“It has been eight months since Congress last passed a comprehensive COVID-19 relief bill. The rate of infections, deaths, and hospitalizations continues to rise. Meanwhile, frontline workers, including those who build, operate, and maintain our transportation system, continue to put their lives on the line to see our country through this crisis,” said TTD President Larry Willis. “Working people simply cannot wait any longer. We urge Congress and the administration to pass another worker-centric COVID-19 relief package immediately.”

Union leaders also condemned a raid at American Airlines by a rogue predatory organization, which, instead of seeking to expand collective bargaining rights to unrepresented workers, is attempting to poach members from other unions. They discussed their priorities with Peter DeFazio, Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

“From the start of the pandemic, transportation workers have played a critical role in keeping our economy moving. After all, there’s no such thing as ‘work from home’ when you’re driving the bus a nurse relies on to get to work, or you’re the mechanic making sure airplanes are safe to fly. Essential workers have sacrificed so much to ensure the American people have what they need to survive this crisis, and in turn, Congress must step up with another comprehensive relief package that reflects the scope of this public health and economic disaster,” Chair DeFazio said. “I will never stop fighting for working people, and I am proud to stand with transportation unions as we push for the relief working families so desperately need and deserve.”

“Moving beyond the COVID-19 crisis and rebuilding our country and economy is possible, but it will require leadership from all levels of government and bold investments in our transportation system and infrastructure. Transportation labor is committed to working with Congress and President-elect Biden to pursue the policies that will ensure working families are at the center of COVID-19 relief efforts now and in the future,” said TTD Secretary-Treasurer Greg Regan.

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