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Transportation Labor Leaders Demand Economic Relief

 

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House
United States House of Representatives
H-232, The Capitol
Washington, DC  20515
The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
Minority Leader
United States House of Representatives
H-204, The Capitol
Washington, DC  20515
The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Majority Leader
United States Senate
S-230, The Capitol
Washington, DC  20510
The Honorable Chuck Schumer
Minority Leader
United States Senate
S-221, The Capitol
Washington, DC  20510

 

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Leader McCarthy, and Leader Schumer:

As the elected leaders of labor organizations who represent transportation workers across every segment of the industry, we urge you to use this September congressional session to pass an economic relief package that our nation and frontline working people urgently need. As we commemorated Labor Day last week, it was a reminder of the vital role that frontline workers have played in steering us through this public health and economic crisis. In the public sector and private sector, everywhere from hospitals to grocery stores, working people are putting themselves at risk for the benefit of all. Transportation workers have been at the center of these efforts, making sure that the goods and people that keep our country healthy get where they need to be. Now these workers, and the broader economy, need your help. It would simply be unacceptable to close this fiscal year without enacting substantial, worker-centric economic relief legislation.

Whether it is in aviation, public transportation, construction, maritime, school and intercity bus service, postal service, passenger and freight rail, ports, or manufacturing, our workers have borne the brunt of the COVID-19 crisis. They have worked through the worst of this pandemic with no public health protections from their government. Thousands have paid for that inaction with their health, and thousands more with their lives. They have faced down economic uncertainty in their industries every single day, not knowing if or when they may be told to stop coming to work. But through it all, they have continued to show up and do their jobs because they know that America is counting on them.

Our unions and our industry partners have written extensively to you and your colleagues about the specific financial needs for each transportation sector. The airline worker payroll support program must be extended before it expires at the end of this month. Transit agencies and passenger rail are in desperate need of federal support to avoid massive layoffs and service cuts.  State and local governments face severe fiscal crises and urgently need federal assistance; especially transportation agencies, where massive budget shortfalls could grind projects and services to a halt. Emergency funding is needed to maintain maritime and seaport commerce. The crisis is further compounded by the pending expiration of the surface transportation program, which must also be extended and expanded during this session. In every case, October 1st is the cliff that will force hundreds of thousands of workers into unemployment and send our economy reeling.

We know that the economic needs are not limited to transportation, and that workers in every other sector are depending on Congress to help them through this crisis. Lack of immediate Congressional action to meet these needs will ripple throughout our membership, and the effects will be felt across the entire economy. America cannot expect to recover from this crisis with one hand tied behind our back, but that is exactly what will happen if we let our transportation networks and their workforces be decimated absent federal assistance. It would be unacceptable, and a slap in the face to the people who are bearing the brunt of this crisis, if Congress were to fail to pass legislation that addresses these needs in totality.

Sincerely,

 

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