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Transportation Unions Roll Out Strategies to Move $1 Trillion Transportation Infrastructure Package

Labor Leader Release List Of Priorities For 2017 And Beyond 

San Antonio, TX – Transportation labor leaders laid out an aggressive strategy yesterday focused on shaping the President’s $1 trillion transportation infrastructure package and tackling unprecedented challenges faced by frontline transportation workers. Some of those challenges include the looming transportation automation wave, risks to jobs and safety, and reckless political forces taking aim at workers’ rights to bargain collectively for good wages and benefits.

“We committed to rally behind a $1 trillion infrastructure package that doesn’t rely mostly on tax incentives but instead includes an infusion of billions in new federal funding and embraces high labor standards,” said Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD). “We cannot toll our way to modernizing and expanding our transportation system and creating millions of new jobs.”

TTD hosted Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) for a discussion on the pressing issues affecting America’s transportation workers, including the need to advance a robust infrastructure package. Denham is a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and chairman of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials.

“Our nation’s transportation system, and the men and women who build, operate and maintain it, play a crucial role in keeping our economy strong,” Denham said. “I look forward to working with transportation labor leaders to advance strategic infrastructure investments that will rebuild our vast transportation network and, in the process, drive middle-class job creation in California and throughout the nation.” 

Transportation labor leaders laid out key issues for 2017 and beyond, including:

 Responding to the Wave of Transportation Automation

  • Automated technologies will drastically change the nature of work in transportation industries, will put millions of jobs at risk and pose new safety and security threats requiring rigorous federal regulations.

Views on President Trump’s Call for a $1 Trillion Infrastructure Investment Initiative

  • Any transportation infrastructure plan advanced by the President and Congress must include a significant infusion of new federal funds and embrace strong worker protections, labor standards and Buy America requirements.

Mobilization Against Job-Killing Right-to-Work Laws

  • Transportation labor will engage in an aggressive effort to stop national right-to-work legislation, which is part of an orchestrated, deliberate attempt by extremists to crush the wages and benefits of working Americans.

Protecting Airline Customer Service Agents from Assault

  • Too many airline customer service agents are verbally or physically assaulted on the job. Federal legislation must mitigate the problem by providing clear protocols for violent situations, preventing violent travelers from boarding planes and subjecting those who assault customer service agents to arrest and prosecution.

Strengthening Transportation Buy America Rules

  • Billions in new transportation investments must be used to not only grow the economy, but to maximize middle-class job creation through vigorous and strongly enforced Buy America policies.

Protecting and Expanding Middle Class Freight Rail Jobs

  • Transportation unions are committed to policies that strengthen and expand freight rail and will oppose reforms that would weaken the freight rail sector’s ability to expand business, invest in its network and workforce, and support middle-class job creation.

Supporting Cargo Preference Laws that Strengthen Our National Defense

  • The Trump Administration and Congress must uphold cargo preference laws that ensure a viable U.S. merchant marine, strengthen our national defense and support mariner jobs.

Protecting Official Time for Federal Employees

  • Transportation unions will mobilize against the Official Time Reform Act, which is a thinly veiled attack on public sector unions and federal employees.

The Executive Committee heard a presentation from Wytkind, who was appointed to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s federal advisory committee on transportation automation, on the safety and security challenges as well as massive job impacts from emerging automation technologies.

“Every sector of the transportation industry faces massive change and significant job loss from the development and deployment of automated technologies,” said Wytkind. “Our priority going forward is to ensure that these technologies are tools for frontline workers to enhance safety, security and service, rather than enablers of massive job and wage destruction.”

Transportation Unions Ready for New Congress, Trump Administration

Transportation Trade Department LogoTransportation union leaders across all sectors gathered today for their post-election meeting to assess the landscape in Washington and lay the groundwork for a unified effort under a Trump Administration.

“Our discussion today was focused on boosting investment in transportation and protecting the rights of working people against a torrent of political attacks designed to weaken unions,” said Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD). “We also vowed to defend against assaults on labor and safety protections in our laws, and work with those who want to change American trade policy so it aligns with the economic interests of American workers.”

The Executive Committee took aim at the wrongheaded decision by the U.S. Department of Transportation to approve the controversial application of Norwegian Air International (NAI) for a foreign air carrier permit.

“Transportation unions were clear today in their resolve to stop the first-ever job-killing ‘flag-of-convenience’ airline sanctioned by our government from destroying U.S. airline jobs. We will continue urging President Obama to intervene and reverse the NAI decision,” Wytkind said.

Transportation labor leaders also sent a clear message that they stand with United Steelworkers Local 1999 President Chuck Jones in his battle to save more jobs at Carrier. Jones, who’s championed the jobs and rights of his members for decades, called out the President-elect because the number of jobs saved at Carrier is 730, not the more than 1,000 the President-elect claimed.

“America is great because of our freedom to speak out and the right of working people to come together in strong unions to demand fairness and living wages on the job,” Wytkind said. “When our elected leaders stifle dissent and bully people like Chuck Jones for simply speaking out for the men and women he’s elected to lead, we not only rip at the fabric of our nation — we eviscerate rights for which people died.”

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The Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD) provides a bold voice for workers in every mode of transportation and is devoted to protecting middle-class jobs, expanding collective bargaining and ensuring modern, safe and secure transportation operations and infrastructure. For more information visit us at www.ttd.org.

A Labor Day Message From Ed Wytkind, President of the Transportation Trades Department AFL-CIO

Washington, DC — The following statement was issued by Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), in advance of Labor Day:

EdwardWytkind“This Labor Day we honor and thank the frontline working people who keep America’s transportation system running safely and efficiently. They are hardworking, dedicated professionals who play a vital role in keeping our economy strong.

“Transportation workers have the right to a voice on the job, a safe work environment and fair pay for the critical work they do — and having strong unions gives them that chance. Yet, today these working men and women face a torrent of attacks that undermine their basic right to bargain for good wages and face economic rules rigged in favor of the very rich. And too often, these policies are endorsed from the people we elect or who are seeking public office.

“The values of honor and respect for working people are on the ballot this fall. One candidate, Donald Trump, pays lip service to the issues facing working people but endorses a disastrous platform that, at its core, will lower wages and destroy bargaining rights on the job. The other candidate, Secretary Hillary Clinton, has spent her entire career fighting for working people and is advancing an economic plan that will restrain reckless greed and offer solutions to the severe challenges and anxieties faced by so many working families. We will do our part to make sure that these completely different visions for our country are well understood by rank and file transportation employees.  

“On this Labor Day, we pause to pay tribute to those frontline employees in the transportation sector who keep America strong, safe and secure. It is on their behalf that we will advocate in the election and beyond in favor of an America that honors their contributions and against those who are out to eviscerate their rights on the job.”

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