New Orleans, Louisiana — Transportation labor leaders set an aggressive agenda focused on protecting frontline workers from new and sustained threats, improving workplace safety, and strengthening America’s transportation network today at the Executive Committee meeting of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD).
The gathering comes as working people are pushing back against attacks on their rights and standing up for good jobs in the face of a changing economy. It also marks the first meeting of transportation unions since the new Congress was seated in January, and since a needless 35-day partial government shutdown brought havoc on the nation’s transportation system.
“Our economy cannot function without a safe, efficient transportation network, and that network cannot operate without a dedicated workforce,” said TTD president Larry I. Willis. “The policies we fight for today will strengthen our economy, empower frontline transportation workers, and ensure this industry remains a source of good, middle-class jobs now and in the future.”
Members of TTD’s Executive Committee discussed their agenda, and goals for the new Congress, with Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR), who has signaled a desire to pass a robust infrastructure investment bill this year.
“Meeting the challenges of 21st Century economy requires a well-funded transportation network and well-trained workers who are ready and able to build, operate, and maintain a world-class system,” DeFazio said. “We have a real opportunity to rebuild this country, strengthen our economy, and create good, family-sustaining jobs. I will fight to get a bill across the finish line that remedies decades of neglect of our infrastructure and paves the way for the future. I look forward to working with TTD and its unions to get the job done.”
Executive Committee members also met with National Transportation Safety Board member Jennifer Homendy to discuss ways they can work together to improve transportation safety for workers and the traveling public.
During the meeting, union presidents examined ways to increase spending in our transportation network, improve rail safety, and mitigate fatigue among commercial drivers. They called for the FAA and TSA to be protected from any future government shutdowns, vowed to implement safety and worker-focused mandates found in the most recent FAA bill, and pledged to ensure one job is enough for airline catering workers. Finally, labor leaders rolled out an eight-point plan designed to protect the jobs of transit workers from threats of automation and reinforced transportation labor’s role in ending human trafficking.
“The breadth of issues we addressed in this meeting reflects the urgency frontline transportation workers feel to invest in our system, improve safety, and strengthen the rights of all working people,” said TTD Secretary-Treasurer Greg Regan.