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TTD Responds to DOT’s Review of Guidance

Jonathan Moss
Assistant General Counsel for Regulation
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave., S.E.
Washington, DC  20590

RE:     Notice of Review of Guidance
            Docket DOT–OST–2017–0069

Dear Mr. Moss,

On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I am pleased to provide comments on the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) notice seeking information on guidance documents that it should consider repealing or revising. By way of background, TTD consists of 33 affiliate unions representing workers in all modes of transportation who are impacted by DOT regulations and guidance. [1] We therefore have a vested interested in the request.

In its request, DOT specifically asks for information on problems with existing guidance, descriptions of alternatives, and examples of entities who are harmed by current guidance documents. This request covers all guidance from any DOT agency.

TTD has no objections to repealing guidance documents that are obsolete, no longer comport with existing statute or have been replaced by more recent publications. We commend efforts to make DOT’s regulatory regime more understandable to transportation workers and their representatives. However, we will oppose efforts to use this proceeding to strip critical guidance documents and long-held standards that support safety, equity, and fairness in the transportation sector.

In innumerable instances, the guidance produced by DOT and its modal administrations offers critical clarity to otherwise complicated or ambiguous regulation and statute. Many of these documents have been painstakingly produced in consultation with relevant stakeholders, including transportation labor unions. Working in tandem with existing law and regulations, DOT’s guidance plays a key role in ensuring consistent and predictable application of critical safety, labor, and procurement standards. DOT must not ignore the merit of these policies and their necessary place in promoting DOT’s safety and economic missions.

Given the vast quantity of guidance relevant to TTD unions, we have not sought to comprehensively identify individual guidance documents that are appropriate for repeal and revision, or items that must be left unaltered. However, in the event that DOT takes action to repeal or revise guidance that is currently in use we urge that the public have an opportunity to comment on these specific proposals. If DOT proceeds with changes without this input, it risks causing unnecessary harm and confusion to its regulated entities and their workers. We appreciate the ability to comment on this request, and look forward to working with DOT in a public and transparent manner going forward as it reviews its guidance.

Sincerely,
Larry I. Willis
President

[1] Attached is a complete list of TTD’s 33 affiliate unions.

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