August 27, 2014

Amtrak’s future crucial to Rail Retirement financing

Stem

Stem “Every Amtrak employee should be placed in a productive position that supports the needs of customer service and managed growth of operations,” UTU National Legislative Director James Stem told Congress Nov. 28. “Amtrak operating crews are among the most productive workers in that system and our members are ready and eager to work,” he [...]

Conservatives pressing attack on working families

U.S. Capitol Building; Capitol Building; Washington D.C.

Public transportation funding, transportation jobs, workplace safety, Railroad Retirement and Medicare are under a mean-spirited and sustained attack by congressional conservatives who are trying to muscle their agenda through Congress prior to the November elections. The UTU and Sheet Metal Workers International Association – now combined into the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) – [...]

Congress and the road ahead

Stem

By James StemUTU National Legislative Director Congress is back from its August recess and eyes are focused on the “Super Committee” of House and Senate members charged with finding $1.5 trillion in budget cuts over the next 10 years. Should that committee fail to agree — and that is likely — there is an automatic [...]

Amtrak privatization scheme voiced in House

WASHINGTON — Two House Republicans with transportation oversight authority — House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) and Rail Subcommittee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) — want to transfer ownership of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor to the private sector as the first step toward dismantling Amtrak and privatizing rail passenger service in the U.S. The [...]

Harsh cuts by Congress to transport funding

WASHINGTON — The vote by Congress April 15 on a budget that keeps the federal government operating through Sept. 30 contains harsh spending cuts for Amtrak, transit and high-speed rail. Especially troubling to UTU members are the Amtrak and transit budget cuts, which could result in worker furloughs, although none have been announced. More troubling [...]

UTU to Congress: Eliminate fatigue, boost safety

WASHINGTON — The single most important action Congress and the Federal Railroad Administration can take to improve rail safety — especially in the movement of hazardous materials — is to eliminate train-crew fatigue and provide predictable start times for train crews. That was the message delivered April 7 to the House Railroad Subcommittee by UTU [...]

Tell Congress: ‘Preserve democratic elections’

WASHINGTON — As the House of Representatives later this week decides whether to second-guess the expert National Mediation Board, lawmakers must ponder voting for a double standard. At issue is an NMB decision last year to make union representation elections more democratic. The NMB reversed a decades-long practice of adding to the “no” column in [...]

Preserve democracy in air, rail rep votes

Your help is needed, as will be explained in the following article. Imagine an election for Congress where the number of eligible voters NOT voting is added to the vote total of the candidate receiving the fewest actual votes, thereby making the election’s loser actually the winner. As confusing and foolish as that sounds, it [...]

Preserving Amtrak: A perennial effort

WASHINGTON — Since its creation four decades ago, Amtrak has perennially teetered on the edge of financial extinction, annually fighting down to the wire for minimal funds to keep it operating.This year is no exception. And while UTU member and retiree phone calls — along with tens of thousands of others from Amtrak supporters nationwide [...]

Obama set to square off with GOP on HSR

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is pushing for a six-year, $53 billion investment in high-speed, higher-speed and expanded passenger rail service, but a fight is brewing with congressional Republicans. An initial $8 billion in funding for these rail projects is expected to be included in the president’s fiscal year 2012 budget request that will be [...]