October 2, 2014

Labor-friendly lawmakers fight for YOU!

By UTU International President Mike Futhey

When UTU members vote for labor-friendly candidates, we are voting for our union’s access to the highest levels of government — and improved opportunity for better wages, benefits and working conditions.

Labor-friendly candidates understand the concerns of working families, and they deserve our vote on Election Day, Nov. 2.

When we helped to elect President Obama in 2008, we helped elect a president who nominated the first rail-union officer in history to head the Federal Railroad Administration — former UTU Illinois State Legislative Director Joe Szabo, who knows firsthand the safety concerns of UTU members.

President Obama’s choice to head the Surface Transportation Board (STB) was former UTU Associate General Counsel Dan Elliott. Among the responsibilities of the STB is to impose labor protection following rail mergers.

Because of President Obama’s election, we have, at the National Mediation Board, a labor-friendly majority that made it easier for rail and airline workers to gain union representation. The NMB also made dramatic reductions in outstanding grievances, and streamlined the process for bringing grievances and obtaining more timely awards.

At the Federal Aviation Administration, President Obama selected former Air Line Pilots’ Association President Randy Babbitt as administrator.

As for the Congress, a labor-friendly majority passed the most sweeping changes in rail workplace safety in generations. Among provisions of the Rail Safety Improvement Act passed by labor-friendly lawmakers was to provide for conductor certification, tighten penalties for carrier intimidation and harassment, and provide whistleblower protection.

Labor-friendly lawmakers we help to elect support changes making it easier for bus industry workers to organize, and labor-friendly lawmakers are pledged to protect Railroad Retirement, Social Security, Medicare and FELA.

Health care reform passed by a labor-friendly Congress allows children under age 26 to remain on their parents’ health care insurance plan without regard to student, marital, residence or financial dependent status. Health care reform also eliminated the ability of insurance companies to deny coverage for preexisting conditions and prevents insurers from imposing lifetime limits on benefit payments

Labor-friendly lawmakers support improvements in workplace safety affecting bus and transit members, support providing Amtrak with sufficient dollars to keep operating, and are pledged to fund the development of high-speed rail projects.

On Election Day, Nov. 2, the most important consideration for working families is job security, better wages, better benefits and improved working conditions.

By voting our paychecks and retaining a labor-friendly Congress, we help elect lawmakers who understand the needs of working families — and who open their doors and ears to labor leaders.

We endorse labor friendly candidates without regard to political party.

UTU endorsements of labor friendly candidates are based on commitments from those candidates to listen carefully to labor and put working families first.

In these difficult economic times, I urge you to join with me and cast a ballot on Nov. 2 for candidates who will put working families first.

To view the list of labor-friendly candidates, click on the following link:

http://utu.org/worksite/PDFs/2010_cong_endorsements.pdf