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One Million Anti-TPP Petitions Delivered to Congress


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TPP Signing in New Zealand Overshadowed by U.S. Presidential Candidate, Congressional Opposition

U.S. Reps. Rosa DeLauro and Tulsi Gabbard, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, Sierra Club, MoveOn, CREDO and Other Online Activist Groups Kick Off TPP Protest Activities

Washington, D.C. – As representatives of the TPP countries meet in New Zealand to officially sign the trade deal, its prospects of going into effect remain uncertain at best. The pact does not enjoy majority support in Congress, and changes that some members are demanding are strongly opposed by other TPP nations. No U.S. presidential candidate polling over five percent in any state supports the deal. At a press conference today, speakers addressed the failings of the TPP, and the political environment surrounding the deal.

“The American people have been left out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership from the beginning and the results show. From an ISDS process that allows foreign corporations to overrule our domestic rule of law, to unenforceable labor and environmental protections, to no protections against currency manipulation, this deal helps the corporate class while selling out working Americans and their families. The American people deserve a better future that empowers our middle class and domestic economy; that protects people and our planet,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02).

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Richard Trumka and Rep Rosa DeLauro

“The TPP agreement is toxic, and the American people are not buying it,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Working people are determined to end the era of corporate trade deals that lower our wages and kill our jobs. To all those on the ballot in 2016, we have a simple message: either you’re with us or against us.”

Debbie Sease, Senior Lobbying and Advocacy Director, Sierra Club, had the following to say at the event, “Signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership puts our economy and our climate on the line. Congress should reject the toxic trade deal and build a new model of trade that puts the health and safety of people before the profits of big polluters.” 

Also at the event, the following national on-line activist organizations delivered to Congress more than a million signatures on anti-TPP petitions: Avaaz (http://bit.ly/1o36deO), CREDO (http://bit.ly/20n5iHA), Care2 (http://bit.ly/1VHxoGD), Corporate Accountability International (http://bit.ly/1KUEP7I), Fight for the Future, Public Citizen, MoveOn, SumOfUs (http://bit.ly/1Qa21R6), and the Sierra Club (http://bit.ly/20Eyab0).

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a corporate giveaway that’s bad for consumers, workers, and the environment. We don’t need our elected leaders to hand multinational corporations even more power over our daily lives. That’s why hundreds of thousands of MoveOn members have fought against the TPP and other deals like it over the years—and why we’ll fight it in Congress this spring,” said Ben Wikler, Washington Director, MoveOn.org Civic Action who spoke at the event. 

“Time and time again CREDO’s 3.9 million activists have demonstrated their opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other job-killing trade deals,” said Murshed Zaheed, CREDO’s Deputy Political Director. “The TPP is a massive giveaway to big corporations that will erode environmental, labor, and intellectual property standards and we are 100 percent dedicated to defeating it in Congress,” Zaheed continued. Since 2013, CREDO has generated more than  one million petition signatures and 40,000 phone calls in opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority.  

In 30 locations nationwide, activists are holding protests against the TPP to oppose the signing and energize local opposition organizing. TPP signing-day rallies are also occurring in Auckland, New Zealand and capitals of other TPP signatory nations.

“The TPP is a dream come true for the Monsantos of the world, but for regular people it will be a disaster — a tool for big business to attack our public health, internet freedom, and the rule of law,” said Joseph Huff-Hannon with Avaaz. “That’s why more than 860,000 Avaaz members are calling on Congress to reject this corporate giveaway.” 

Corporate Accountability International representative Cloe Franko had the following to say about their actions around TPP: “This corporate-driven trade deal not only fails people and the environment, it represents an enormous threat to the democracy and sovereignty of all twelve nations involved. Negotiated in secrecy behind closed doors, this deal is poised to rewrite trade rules in the name of corporate profits. With allegations of corruption of one of the lead negotiators now calling into question the integrity of the entire TPP, Congress must heed the demands of the people rallying here today and the millions more around the world opposed to this agreement and reject it when it’s up for approval.”

Care2, who also participated in today’s event, said that their members tend to be the most concerned about ISDS and the lack of enforcement for the wildlife and environmental protections in the TPP. “The TPP was negotiated in secret for seven years with very little congressional oversight, but a lot of corporate influence. As a result, we now have a trade deal that would allow corporations to sue the U.S. government. We have a deal that has sold out environmental and wildlife protections, food safety, and human rights. We have a deal that will turn democracy as we know it up-side-down. And that is why over 135,000 Care2 members are demanding that Congress vote ‘no’ on the TPP. We will never support a trade agreement that attacks everything we care about and have fought to protect,” said Lacey Kohlmoos, Care2 Online Organizing Strategist.

“The TPP signing today is largely theater. Everyone knows the real fight here will be in Congress, where this unpopular and anti-democratic deal faces fierce opposition from both sides of the aisle. A massive coalition of activists are gearing up to fight the TPP. Once we’ done with it, secret trade deals will be as politically toxic in DC as SOPA after the Internet Blackout,” said Evan Greer, campaign director, Fight for the Future.

And finally, Ledys Sanjuan, Senior Campaigner at SumOfUs.org, concluded “The TPP is one of the largest corporate power grabs we’ve seen. Not only will it cost hundreds and thousands of US jobs but it will significantly reduce internet freedom and give power to corporations to sue our governments for regulating them. We need to come together and stop our governments from ratifying this dangerous trade deal.”  

One Million Anti-TPP Petitions Delivered to Congress


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TPP Signing in New Zealand Overshadowed by U.S. Presidential Candidate, Congressional Opposition

U.S. Reps. Rosa DeLauro and Tulsi Gabbard, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, Sierra Club, MoveOn, CREDO and Other Online Activist Groups Kick Off TPP Protest Activities

Washington, D.C. – As representatives of the TPP countries meet in New Zealand to officially sign the trade deal, its prospects of going into effect remain uncertain at best. The pact does not enjoy majority support in Congress, and changes that some members are demanding are strongly opposed by other TPP nations. No U.S. presidential candidate polling over five percent in any state supports the deal. At a press conference today, speakers addressed the failings of the TPP, and the political environment surrounding the deal.

“The American people have been left out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership from the beginning and the results show. From an ISDS process that allows foreign corporations to overrule our domestic rule of law, to unenforceable labor and environmental protections, to no protections against currency manipulation, this deal helps the corporate class while selling out working Americans and their families. The American people deserve a better future that empowers our middle class and domestic economy; that protects people and our planet,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02).

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Richard Trumka and Rep Rosa DeLauro

“The TPP agreement is toxic, and the American people are not buying it,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Working people are determined to end the era of corporate trade deals that lower our wages and kill our jobs. To all those on the ballot in 2016, we have a simple message: either you’re with us or against us.”

Debbie Sease, Senior Lobbying and Advocacy Director, Sierra Club, had the following to say at the event, “Signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership puts our economy and our climate on the line. Congress should reject the toxic trade deal and build a new model of trade that puts the health and safety of people before the profits of big polluters.” 

Also at the event, the following national on-line activist organizations delivered to Congress more than a million signatures on anti-TPP petitions: Avaaz (http://bit.ly/1o36deO), CREDO (http://bit.ly/20n5iHA), Care2 (http://bit.ly/1VHxoGD), Corporate Accountability International (http://bit.ly/1KUEP7I), Fight for the Future, Public Citizen, MoveOn, SumOfUs (http://bit.ly/1Qa21R6), and the Sierra Club (http://bit.ly/20Eyab0).

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a corporate giveaway that’s bad for consumers, workers, and the environment. We don’t need our elected leaders to hand multinational corporations even more power over our daily lives. That’s why hundreds of thousands of MoveOn members have fought against the TPP and other deals like it over the years—and why we’ll fight it in Congress this spring,” said Ben Wikler, Washington Director, MoveOn.org Civic Action who spoke at the event. 

“Time and time again CREDO’s 3.9 million activists have demonstrated their opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other job-killing trade deals,” said Murshed Zaheed, CREDO’s Deputy Political Director. “The TPP is a massive giveaway to big corporations that will erode environmental, labor, and intellectual property standards and we are 100 percent dedicated to defeating it in Congress,” Zaheed continued. Since 2013, CREDO has generated more than  one million petition signatures and 40,000 phone calls in opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority.  

In 30 locations nationwide, activists are holding protests against the TPP to oppose the signing and energize local opposition organizing. TPP signing-day rallies are also occurring in Auckland, New Zealand and capitals of other TPP signatory nations.

“The TPP is a dream come true for the Monsantos of the world, but for regular people it will be a disaster — a tool for big business to attack our public health, internet freedom, and the rule of law,” said Joseph Huff-Hannon with Avaaz. “That’s why more than 860,000 Avaaz members are calling on Congress to reject this corporate giveaway.” 

Corporate Accountability International representative Cloe Franko had the following to say about their actions around TPP: “This corporate-driven trade deal not only fails people and the environment, it represents an enormous threat to the democracy and sovereignty of all twelve nations involved. Negotiated in secrecy behind closed doors, this deal is poised to rewrite trade rules in the name of corporate profits. With allegations of corruption of one of the lead negotiators now calling into question the integrity of the entire TPP, Congress must heed the demands of the people rallying here today and the millions more around the world opposed to this agreement and reject it when it’s up for approval.”

Care2, who also participated in today’s event, said that their members tend to be the most concerned about ISDS and the lack of enforcement for the wildlife and environmental protections in the TPP. “The TPP was negotiated in secret for seven years with very little congressional oversight, but a lot of corporate influence. As a result, we now have a trade deal that would allow corporations to sue the U.S. government. We have a deal that has sold out environmental and wildlife protections, food safety, and human rights. We have a deal that will turn democracy as we know it up-side-down. And that is why over 135,000 Care2 members are demanding that Congress vote ‘no’ on the TPP. We will never support a trade agreement that attacks everything we care about and have fought to protect,” said Lacey Kohlmoos, Care2 Online Organizing Strategist.

“The TPP signing today is largely theater. Everyone knows the real fight here will be in Congress, where this unpopular and anti-democratic deal faces fierce opposition from both sides of the aisle. A massive coalition of activists are gearing up to fight the TPP. Once we’ done with it, secret trade deals will be as politically toxic in DC as SOPA after the Internet Blackout,” said Evan Greer, campaign director, Fight for the Future.

And finally, Ledys Sanjuan, Senior Campaigner at SumOfUs.org, concluded “The TPP is one of the largest corporate power grabs we’ve seen. Not only will it cost hundreds and thousands of US jobs but it will significantly reduce internet freedom and give power to corporations to sue our governments for regulating them. We need to come together and stop our governments from ratifying this dangerous trade deal.”  

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka To Demand An End To Deportations At Pasadena’s Worker Center

(Photo by Bill Burke, Page One Photography)

(Photo by Bill Burke, Page One Photography)

During the event, day laborers, elected officials and immigrant and community leaders will highlight how failed enforcement policies undermine workers’ rights  

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka will be at a worker center in Pasadena, Calif., today where he will oppose the ongoing deportations that undermine family unity and weaken rights for all workers. He will be joined by Los Angeles Labor Federation of Labor President Rusty Hicks; Pasadena City Mayor, Terry Tornek; Pasadena Councilmember, District 5, Victor Gordo; California State Labor Commissioner, Julie Su; and dozens of day laborers and workers who will share their experiences as immigrant workers.

During the event President Trumka plans to deliver the following remarks [Excerpts]:

“America’s deportation crisis is a bipartisan failure. 

“And I could not come here today without saying how disappointed I am with the Obama Administration’s recent decision to send women and children back to dangerous Central American nations.

“I have an enormous amount of respect and admiration for President Obama, yet the plague of immigration raids in America is nothing less than a travesty.  A human travesty.

“All over our country, those who fled violence and poverty to come here for a better life are being forced to live in fear.  This is wrong and today we say once again: stop the era of deportations!

“It’s time for us to ramp up the pressure on our elected leaders.  Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with America’s labor movement and our allies, we are going to protect all working people.

“We demand an end to deportations and safe haven for workers who speak up on the job.

“We call on the Supreme Court to give DAPA and DACA the green light.  But no matter what the justices decide, we will keep mobilizing and keep organizing.

“We shouldn’t be building walls.  We should be building bridges—to security and prosperity and a better life.

“The future of immigrant workers is not in detention centers.  It’s in worker centers like this one.

“So brothers and sisters, continue to stand up when your communities are under attack.  Your bravery is inspiring.  Your courage lifts us all.”

Collective Action has the Power to Defeat Racist Rhetoric in 2016

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Ian Haney-Lopez releases new report outlining strategies for
collective action against racist rhetoric in politics

(Washington, DC) – Today, the AFL-CIO and University of California Berkeley Law Professor Ian Haney-Lopez, in partnership with Demos and the University of California-Berkley Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, released a new report offering a response to the increase in racist and offensive rhetoric throughout the election season so far.

In the report, entitled “Race and Economic Jeopardy For All: A Framing Paper for Defeating Dog Whistle Politics,” Haney-Lopez addresses the connection between dog whistle politics and the increasingly successful right-wing attacks on the government and unions, and offers a frame for the labor movement to mobilize and defeat dog whistling.

Dog whistle politics and manipulated hostility towards people of color already have a strong presence in the 2016 election. Recently, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka released a video shaming the use of such rhetoric, specifically shining a light on Donald Trump’s campaign.

“The report comes at a crucial time in American politics when right-wing politicians are inciting fear in voters with the use of dog-whistle politics,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “This language damages the ability to achieve the policies our country’s working families so desperately need.”

“Conservatives and their billionaire backers are exploiting racial anxiety to win support for policies that overwhelmingly favor the very rich. Race today is about all of us–the economic future of each of our families, and also, who we are as Americans,” said Haney-Lopez.

“In this election cycle, we’ve seen presidential candidates unabashedly using racist dog whistles to divide and spread distrust among working people, and the only winners are those already benefiting from record inequality,” said Demos President Heather McGhee. “Ian Haney-Lopez’s agenda-setting new report makes clear that a strong and inclusive labor movement is America’s best hope for true cross-racial solidarity.”

As the demographics of working people continue the shift to include more women and people of color, the labor movement must continue to fight back against such divisive language that inhibits shared progress.  

The report can be accessed online.

Richard Trumka Takes On Donald Trump’s Racist Hate Filled Campaign

Working families deserve better than a campaign fueled by fear and hatred.

Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, has some straight forward talk about Donald Trump’s campaign that divides workers, attacks immigrants and people of color.

From his initial campaign announcement, Trump’s campaign has been focused on immigrants and people of color.  He referred to Mexican’s as “rapists” and “drug dealers” and wants to build a wall across our southern border to keep people out. Trump spews hatred like an erupting volcano.

Trump’s campaign stops have been riddled with violent acts against people of color for speaking out against Trump’s fear mongering and oppressive ideas.

Recently Trump said that workers wages are “too high.” I would expect nothing less from a greedy capitalist who has been taking advantage of working men and women his entire career.

Too many Americans are struggling to make ends meet. Many are working 50 or 60 hours a week between two and three jobs and still one-in-four children are food insecure.  Trump makes more in one minute ($434) than a minimum wage earner makes in an entire week.

Listen to the strong warning offered by Trumka, the son of an Italian and Polish immigrant family, about how America deserves better than Donald Trump.

Video Link

Worker Wins Update: Workers Continue to Make Waves and Raise Wages this Season

Washington, DC – Workers across the country finished 2015 strong, fighting for and achieving several significant victories to help create a better life for all working families.

Trump Las Vegas Workers Voting ‘Yes’ to Join Union: Last week, workers at the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas voted yes to be represented by Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Local 165 of UNITE HERE. Over 500 employees at the hotel will now become members of the union.

Tennessee-based Volkswagen Workers Vote to Join Union: Approximately 150 skilled trades employees at VW’s Chattanooga, TN plant voted overwhelmingly to join a union earlier this month. The election, held under intense pressures from anti-working family advocates, is a critical step towards ensuring auto workers and workers throughout the South have a greater voice in the workplace.

Workers at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Win New Contract: Earlier this month, 2,000 workers from The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas voted on and approved a four year contract between the Culinary Workers Union Local 226, Bartenders Union Local 165 and the hotel. The contract comes after a two-year fight with the Cosmopolitan’s previous owners, and has critical language ensuring that wages and benefits are protected if the casino and resort is sold again.

Huffington Post Workers Vote to Join Union: The Huffington Post continues the trend of new media unionizing, as the editorial staff asked management to recognize Writers Guild of America East as their union representative earlier this month. This vote makes The Huffington Post the biggest digital news operation to opt for union representation. In the past year, working people have made significant gains in the media industry as the News Guild-CWA and Writers Guild of America East have won major organizing wins, including Gawker, The Guardian US, ThinkProgress, Salon, Vice Media, and Al Jazeera America.

Temple University Adjuncts Join AFT: Late last month, more than 1,400 adjust professors voted to join full-time faculty members and librarians that are already represented at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This vote represents the largest single representation election for adjuncts in the United States since 2013.

Wake County Raises Wages: Last month, the Wake County Commission, in North Carolina voted to raise the minimum wage for county workers to $13.50 an hour. This county joined Greenville, Greensboro, Asheville, Durham, Chapel Hill and Carrboro in giving their employees a living wage

American Airline Agents Approve First Contract: Late last month, American Airlines agents overwhelmingly voted in favor of their first contract as members of the CWA/IBT Passenger Service Association. The new contract ensures higher wages and better job stability for agents.

San Antonio Hotel Workers Resolve Labor Dispute: Workers at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio and the Hyatt Regency San Antonio Riverwalk will be receiving higher wages and improvements in working conditions after settling a seven-year dispute that involved the NLRB, OSHA, and workers.

Dallas Construction Workers Win the Right to Rest: Last week, the Dallas City Council passed a new ordinance allowing construction workers to take a 10 minute rest every four hours. The legislation, championed by the Dallas AFL-CIO, will help promote safer workplaces for workers operating in dangerous conditions.

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, The Case To Push Right To Work Nationally

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association

Another day, another attack on working families.

The Supreme Court is about to hear a case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association that could overturn a nearly forty-year decision that allows unions to negotiate “fair-share” fees for non-union members who benefit from the union’s contract.

“We are disappointed that at a time when big corporations and the wealthy few are rewriting the rules in their favor, knocking American families and our entire economy off-balance, the Supreme Court has chosen to take a case that threatens the fundamental promise of America—that if you work hard and play by the rules you should be able to provide for your family and live a decent life,” wrote NEA President Lily Eskelsen García, AFT President Randi Weingarten, CTA President Eric C. Heins, AFSCME President Lee Saunders, and SEIU President Mary Kay Henry in joint statement.

For decades corporations have been trying to bust our unions in an effort to suppress workers and pocket more of the fruits of our labor. Twenty-five states have already passed, so-called Right To Work laws, that make it illegal for unions and employers to negotiate a fair share clause’s in their contracts.

Nearly forty years ago the right for unions to charge a fair share fee was challenged in the Supreme Court. In the case, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, the court upheld the union’s right to negotiate a fee from non-members who benefit from the contract.

For generations unions have protected workers and help to counterbalance the corporate race to the bottom. In free-bargaining states, workers on average, make $1553 dollars more annually.

“It’s abundantly clear that right to work laws are negatively correlated with workers’ wages,” said Elise Gould, Senior Economist with the Economic Policy Institute.

This case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, is just another example of the extreme right wing pushing their anti-worker agenda on all workers. The case has been pushed by the Center for Individual Rights with strong support from wealthy businessmen and ultra-libertarians Charles and David Koch.

“The list of foundations and donor-advised funds supporting the Center for Individual Rights reads like a who’s who of the right’s organized opposition to labor,” wrote Adele M. Stan in the American Prospect.

The Center for Individual Rights (CIR) is also known for taking cases to the Supreme Court to overturn rulings on Immigration, Affirmative Action, and the Voting Rights Act. CIR quickly gained support from anti-worker groups including “the Cato Institute, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Fund, and the Mackinac Center, a major force behind the 2012 anti-union legislation enacted in Michigan,” who filed amicus briefs to the Supreme Court on behalf of the plaintiff, Friedrichs.

The AFL-CIO and AFSCME also filed amicus briefs opposing this corporate funded attack on workers rights. Along with the AFL-CIO and AFSCME more than 70, civil and human rights groups, including the NAACP, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the National Women’s Law Center, and GLAD, filed their own amicus brief opposing this attack on workers.

“For nearly 40 years, unions have bargained to further opportunity for women, people of color, and LGBT workers,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “At a time of increasing inequality, and when the odds are increasingly in favor of the wealthy and against the American worker, we urge the Court to adhere to its own precedent and reaffirm Abood so that unions representing all public sector workers, both members and non-members, may continue to effectively bargain for vital workplace benefits and protections.”

When workers stand together, we win. These attacks on our rights and freedoms have not gone unnoticed and will not stop us from continuing to organize to make the lives of working people better.

Labor Continues Fight for Justice for all Immigrant Working Families

(Photo by Bill Burke, Page One Photography)

(Photo by Bill Burke, Page One Photography)

A year after the executive action on immigration,
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka issued the following statement:

Today should have been a day of celebration for working families across the nation. Instead, thanks to partisan legal obstructionism of the DAPA and expanded DACA policies, millions of people continue to live and work in fear in our country. Nonetheless, we continue to press forward.

This year working people have been standing together to fight for just wages and fair treatment in communities across the country. Millions of workers of all immigration statuses have been negotiating with a collective voice for a better life; and we have seen how labor unions have embraced the Adelante! We Rise! campaign by opening their halls to empower immigrant working families.  Our movement, including community allies and worker centers, is more energized than ever.

Right now, the Texas AFL-CIO and the Workers Defense Project are holding a three day pilgrimage to Austin to remind the nation that in Texas immigrant families are a vibrant part of the community and that they refuse to remain in the shadows. Our movement has been at the forefront of a wide range of issues related to bettering conditions for workers and their families. Last week the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, the National Day Labor Organizing Network and community groups gathered outside Los Angeles’ downtown immigrant detention center to honor all the families that have suffered unnecessary separations as a result of our nation’s broken immigration system. 

The AFL-CIO was pleased to see the Administration file a formal request today for the Supreme Court to hear the case on DAPA and expanded DACA.  We remain deeply committed to ensuring that the promise of these programs to improve the lives of millions of working people is realized, and we intend to make our support clear in the streets, at the polls, and to the Court directly.

Meanwhile, we will press forward in the struggle for equal rights for all working people. Roadblocks test our determination, but we will not rest until families can remain united and all working people are treated with respect and dignity.

US House Passes Surface Transportation Bill

July 06, 2015 |Kuster hears from local transportation planners about the importance of fully funding infrastructure projects

July 06, 2015 |Kuster hears from local transportation planners about the importance of fully funding infrastructure projects

Today, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) voted in favor of H.R. 3763, the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015, which will extend federal highway and transit programs for the next six years. Following this morning’s approval of the measure, the House and the Senate have until November 20 to finalize and approve federal infrastructure funding before the current reauthorization expires. 

“For New Hampshire to continue to succeed in the 21st century, we need to have long-term security when it comes to federal transportation funding,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “I joined with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this bill, which will ensure that we protect public safety through the revitalization of our roads and bridges, as well as provide certainty that our valued construction workers are supported by these vital projects. However, I recognize that this bill is far from perfect. I believe that the legislation could do more to expand funding for highway and infrastructure projects.  In particular, the bill dramatically cuts overall funding for the TIFIA loan program, which is critically important to improving our transportation network in the Granite State.  

I am also frustrated that this bill only provides funding for three of the six years authorized by the legislation.  I am a strong supporter of legislation that would fund transportation through repatriation of overseas corporate earnings and regret that this proposal was not allowed to be considered as an amendment. I now call on my colleagues in the Senate and House to work together to draft a compromise bill that grows our investment in transportation and strengthens our economic competitiveness, so that our workers and the projects that our nation relies on can continue to strengthen the country’s transportation networks.”

The Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015 would provide $325 billion for the revitalization of highways, transit, and safety programs across the country to be used over the next six years. The final measures to ensure funding throughout the bill’s final three years are expected to be settled in conference with the Senate between now and November 20, when current authorization will expire.  Over the last decade, Congress has passed numerous short-term extensions of highway and transit programs, leading to uncertainty for local transportation departments and impeding economic growth around the nation. 

Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), issued this statement:

“For far too long, Americans and the communities in which they live have been forced to live with the consequences of years of inaction on the backlog of investments needed to repair and modernize our failing surface transportation system. We are especially pleased that Shuster and DeFazio rejected divisive amendments that would have done harm to our members and undermined our transportation system. Their leadership proves that it is still possible for Republicans and Democrats to cooperate on issues that matter to the American people.

“While passage of this bill is a landmark achievement, we must not lose sight of the fact that the funding levels do not meet our country’s mounting transportation challenges. We hope that as the House and Senate work together in Conference, more revenues will be found to significantly boost transit, highway and bridge investments.

Congresswoman Kuster has continuously advocated for increased federal investment in New Hampshire’s transportation infrastructure since taking office. Last year when short-term funding threatened to run out, Kuster introduced the DRIVE Now Act, legislation that would have replenished the Highway Trust fund through the summer construction season to allow Congress time to pass a full, six-year reauthorization of the Highway Trust Fund and other Surface Reauthorization programs. 

Kuster is also a strong supporter of the Infrastructure 2.0 Act (H.R. 625), which would fund federal highway programs through the repatriation of overseas corporate earnings. Additionally, the bill would use this same funding source to create a national infrastructure bank to finance state and local infrastructure projects and reform federal taxation of overseas corporate earnings to prevent companies from exploiting foreign tax havens.  This legislation was offered as an amendment to H.R. 3763 but was not allowed to receive a vote.

This past summer, Kuster sent a letter to House leadership and called on her colleagues in the Senate to support a long-term surface transportation bill that would provide certainty for infrastructure projects in New Hampshire and across the country.

Kuster has also hosted a number of events to highlight the importance of transportation infrastructure.

Earlier this fall, Kuster hosted a passenger rail summit that attracted experts from across New England to share updates on ongoing projects as well as best practices. She has also toured the I-93 construction project in Windham and the Route 10 bridge replacement project in Winchester, two projects that could have been threatened by lack of transportation funding, to underscore the need to pass responsible, long-term funding legislation. 

AFL-CIO President “Deeply Disappointed” In Text Of Newly Released TPP

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka made the following statement after
the release of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) text:

Richard_TrumkaAfter six long years, the secrecy is over.  The public finally has a chance to scrutinize the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) for themselves instead of having to rely on characterizations made by the agreement’s supporters.  America’s voters can now make their own judgment  about whether it meets their high standards for a 21st Century agreement that will raise wages, protect our democracy, and promote sustainable growth and development.

From what we have reviewed so far, we are deeply disappointed that our policy recommendations and those of our trade reform allies in the environmental, consumer, public health, global development, and business sectors were largely ignored.  The investment rules still provide expansive new legal rights and powers to foreign businesses to challenge legitimate government actions, the labor enforcement provisions are still inadequate to address the enormous challenges posed by this deal, and the lack of enforceable currency rules subject to trade sanctions mean the promised new export markets may never materialize.

We will be examining the text line by line in the coming days to understand the deal’s full implications for working people in every sector from manufacturing and agriculture to public and private services.  But from what we have already seen, it is clear that the threats of this expansive new agreement outweigh its benefits —  for good jobs, for democracy, for affordable medicines, for consumer safety, and for the environment. The hardworking families of the AFL-CIO will join with our allies to defeat the TPP. 

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