Archive for the ‘TD Leadership Messages’ Category

Previsich, Risch speak at San Antonio Regional Meeting

Q&A with SMART TD President Previsich at San Antonio Regional Meeting, June 14, 2017

SMART TD President John Previsich answers members’ questions during the closing session.

 


 

SMART TD President Previsich honors retiree Ken Menges at San Antonio Regional Meeting, June 14, 2017

SMART TD President John Previsich presented a certificate of appreciation to retiree Ken Menges for his work on improving the SMART TD Alumni Association.

 


 

SMART TD National Legislative Director John Risch speaks about legislation concerning our membership, June 14, 2017

SMART TD National Legislative Director John Risch gave an update to our membership on what’s going on legislatively in Washington D.C.

SMART TD Regional Meetings coming Up: Educate—Organize—Mobilize!

Previsich

The SMART TD annual Regional Meeting in San Antonio is coming up soon – reserve your spot now! Click here to reserve online and for additional information.

Educate—Organize—Mobilize! This is the theme for SMART Transportation Division’s upcoming regional meetings, to be held in San Antonio, Texas, on June 12-14 and New York City, New York, on July 10-12.

This theme was selected in order to continue our renewed emphasis on education and training and also to build awareness of the many tools that are offered to take that training to the next level.

Educate – This year’s workshops will build on the positive feedback received from last year’s meetings, offering improved course studies for members and officers. The courses are offered with multiple tracks to enhance the skills of every member, including full schedules designed for legislative matters, local officer training, bus issues and treasurer workshops.

Reinstating a well-received initiative, this year the meetings will again offer a certification program for those who wish to participate. Members may record attendance by scanning their badge at the conclusion of each workshop. Those who participate at the higher levels will receive a certificate and a lapel pin in recognition of their achievement.

Organize – The meetings this year will offer guidance on strategies and techniques to implement the lessons learned during the workshops. Whether it be organizing to improve the conduct of a local meeting or forming a group to get out the vote come election time, the goal is to assist all attendees in developing the skills necessary to apply at the local level and incorporate the lessons learned during the meetings.

Mobilize!  This is a critical part of this year’s theme. Now, more than ever before, we are in a political environment that is unfriendly to organized labor.  There are efforts underway at the local, state and federal levels to dismantle many of the protections and benefits that labor has earned during the 150-year history of the American labor movement.

From taxing workers on their employer-provided health care, to implementing right-to-work at the national level, many people not favorable to organized labor view this time as a window of opportunity to advance their anti-labor initiatives.

The threats are real and it will take an educated, organized and mobilized strategy by all of labor to counteract the efforts of those who are attempting to turn back the clock.

Accordingly, this year’s regional meetings will have a special focus on mobilization at the local level. From lobbying first responders in support of our two-person crew bills, to speaking out in Washington through utilization of the SMART TD Legislative Action Center, success in this environment will depend on an informed and mobilized membership.

We ask all members to sign up for SMART Action Alerts, download the SMART TD free app (search SMART-TD in app store) and utilize the Legislative Action Center on the SMART TD website.

All members need to be informed and prepared to offer support and assistance when called upon. It is through our collective efforts that we will be able to withstand attacks on the benefits, wages, retirement, regulations and transit funding that provide a safe working environment and a good living for our members and their families.

I look forward to seeing you at the regional meetings in San Antonio and New York!

In Solidarity,

John Previsich
President,
SMART Transportation Division

Ohio SLB explains on ‘The Union Edge: Labor’s Talk Radio’ why Right-to-Work is Wrong

Stuart Gardner, SMART TD Ohio State Legislative Director

Ralph Leichliter, SMART TD Ohio Assistant State Legislative Director

The SMART TD Ohio State Legislative Board’s Director Stuart Gardner and Assistant Director Ralph Leichliter went on The Union Edge: Labor’s Talk Radio to explain to listeners why Right-to-Work is Wrong not just for Ohioans, but for all working families.

Click here to listen to a podcast of the interview.

If you live in Ohio, click here for the Ohio State Legislative Board’s website.

Click here to tell your representatives that Right-to-Work is Wrong via our Legislative Action Center.

RRB Analysis: Trump’s budget to gut Amtrak would be disastrous for ALL rail workers

John Risch, SMART TD Legislative Director

If signed into law, President Trump’s 2018 budget proposal would eliminate Amtrak’s long distance train service. The immediate fall out would be significant for all American rail workers resulting in the loss of 10,000 non-Northeast Corridor Amtrak jobs by the end of this year.

According to a recent report by the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) actuary, the impact of such job losses would result in a long-term decrease in Railroad Retirement benefits and overall increase in taxes.

Impact on RRB benefits & trust funds if 10,000 Amtrak jobs cut

While RRB accounts could absorb the loss of 10,000 Amtrak jobs, the cumulative impact of losses in the rail industry, including approximately 30,000 jobs that have been lost in just the last two years, will take a significantly negative toll on the entire system. Attached you will find the RRB’s detailed projection in loss of jobs, loss of benefits, and major increase in railroad unemployment benefits projected for 2017 and 2018.

The time to act is NOW

We must urge fellow members, friends and family to call, email and write our national elected officials to OPPOSE any budget that would cut 10,00 Amtrak jobs, eliminate commuter rail service and irreparably harm the retirement benefits that all railroad members worked for a lifetime to secure.

Click here to urge your elected representatives to oppose any budget cuts to Amtrak’s long-distance train service via the Legislative Action Center (LAC).

In solidarity,

John Risch
National Legislative Director
SMART Transportation Division

Editorial: ‘For rail safety’s sake: ECP brake technology a must’ by John Risch, Natl. Legislative Director, SMART TD

By John Risch
National Legislative Director
SMART Transportation Division
JRisch@smart-union.org

Recently, I was the only labor participant in a technology roundtable before the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure where we discussed emerging technology in the railroad industry.

The focus of my comments was on Electronically Controlled Pneumatic (ECP) Brakes. I have operated trains with ECP brakes and they are the greatest safety advancement I have seen in my 40 years in the railroad industry. They slow and stop trains up to 70 percent faster than conventional brakes and are the safest most advanced train braking system in the world.

The railroad industry, in arguing against the implementation of ECP brakes, has claimed that dynamic brakes and distributive power are better choices. While they are correct that dynamic braking and distributive power are helpful in braking trains, the truth is – these two features are not nearly as effective as an ECP brake system.

Below is my Top 11 list (which is even better than a Top 10 list) on why ECP brakes are better than conventional air brakes:

1. ECP brakes maintain a train’s brake pipe pressure 100 percent of the time, conventional brakes do not. The colder the weather, the thinner the air, the more crucial maintaining brake pressure is.

2. ECP brakes allow for a”graduated release.” That means the engineer can partially release the train’s brakes without having to fully release them. This is vitally important because once a train’s brakes are released it takes time to recharge the train’s brake pipe pressure in order for the brakes to work again. The graduated release feature allows an engineer to maintain the speed of his/her train down steep grades with a partial application of the brakes, without fully releasing and reapplying the train’s brakes repeatedly. The graduated release feature all but eliminates the possibility of a runaway train.

3. When the engineer makes an emergency application of the brakes, every car with ECP brakes applies 100 percent of the time. This is not always true with conventional brakes.

4. ECP brakes would have prevented the terrible Lac-Megantic oil train tragedy that killed 47 people and destroyed the town, a factor cited in Transport Canada’s report on the accident. These brakes would have prevented the accident, because when air pressure on a car equipped with ECP brakes drops below 50 psi, the car automatically goes into emergency mode. So even an improperly secured train will not roll away.

5. ECP brakes allow the crew to monitor every car in the train in real time to determine if the brakes are applied or released. Conventional brakes do not.

6. ECP brakes record retrievable data associated with brake failures. There is no such review for conventional brakes. Trains are inspected every 1,000-1,800 miles and if the brakes are working during the inspection they continue on. If a car has brakes that fail to apply during that inspection, the car is taken to a repair facility. Often that facility is a heated shop where the car warms up, the brakes are tested and if they work at that point, the car is not repaired, rather, the car is placed back in the train.

7. ECP brakes all but eliminate in-train forces because all the cars apply and release at once. Conventional brakes cause lots of in-train forces, some of which damage merchandise and even cause derailments.

8. ECP brakes cause all cars to brake evenly, which dramatically reduces damage to wheels and brake shoes, saving a great deal of money in maintenance and repair. Conventional brakes do not. The modest cost of installing ECP brakes, about $3,000 per car on a new DOT 117 tank car that costs $144,000 to build, and about $60,000 per locomotive, will be more than paid for in the savings in car repairs, let alone reduced train derailments.

9. ECP brakes can be modified to apply hand brakes to a railcar automatically from the locomotive, allowing the crew to apply a hand brake on every car in the train in seconds. Conventional brakes must be applied by hand and it can take an hour or more to properly secure a train.

10. ECP brakes are required by the AAR for the movement of nuclear waste trains because they are the safest braking system available.

11. ECP brakes can be modified and will evolve to do everything that sophisticated wayside train detectors do now, and will do it constantly in real time, eventually eliminating the need for wayside detectors.

So, for the safety of rail workers, passengers and the residents in the cities and towns that trains run through, it is vital ECP brakes be phased-in in the freight rail industry.

Negotiations update on the National Rail Contract

Previsich

Dear members,

On December 5, 2016, SMART Transportation Division issued a press release to announce that the unions participating in the Coordinated Bargaining Group (CBG) had requested that the National Mediation Board (NMB) mediate the group’s negotiations with the National Carriers Conference Committee (NCCC).

The decision to move the process forward with a request for mediation was made after our last negotiating session with the NCCC, when it became apparent that the prospect of reaching a voluntary agreement had grown significantly less likely, due in large part to the outcome of November’s elections. During negotiations, the organizations submitted a proposal that would provide the framework of an improved wage, work rule and benefit package that we believe our members have earned.

The carriers responded with an offer that was significantly less in every regard. Your negotiating team found the carriers’ demands for certain work rule changes unacceptable. In our opinion, these changes would compromise safety by creating a negative impact on rest and predictability. In addition, the carrier proposed unsatisfactory wage increases and dramatic cuts to our health care benefits, both of which were also unacceptable.

We have negotiated in good faith because we believe a voluntary agreement is in the best interests of our members and will continue to do so while in mediation. However, we stand firm in our conviction that our members deserve a better outcome than the carrier’s proposal and we will exhaust every avenue available to achieve a contract settlement with equitable compensation and benefit improvements that reflect the employees’ contributions to the carriers’ success. Additionally, we will not accept or propose a contract that adds to the already intolerable levels of unpredictability and rest deprivation that our members currently endure.

What’s next? The parties will engage in mediation as part of the dispute resolution process required by the Railway Labor Act. If a voluntary agreement is not reached in mediation, the process provides for a proffer of arbitration by the NMB, which, if refused by either participant, will then release the parties to engage in self-help (strike/lockout).

Moving through the Railway Labor Act to a strike is a long and arduous process, and requires that the parties exhaust every opportunity for settlement before a work stoppage disrupts the nation’s transportation system. However, the right to strike is a part of the process and the only person who can take away your right to strike is the President of the United States, who may intervene and appoint a Presidential Emergency Board.

In the event that we reach that point, I will be calling on all of our members to reach out to the White House and request that our newly elected President not interfere with our right to exercise self-help in our quest for a fair and equitable contract settlement.

To better explain the process that governs from this point forward, click on https://smart-union.org/td/washington/abridged-version-railway-labor-act/ to read an abridged version of a more detailed explanation of the Railway Labor Act.

Fraternally,

John Previsich
President, Transportation Division

SMART TD AND BLET: CALL CONGRESS for 2-PERSON CREW, NOW!

CLEVELAND, Jan. 20—The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Rail Air and Transportation Workers (SMART TD) are urging their respective memberships to contact members of the House of Representatives about co-sponsoring The Safe Freight Act of 2017 (H.R. 233), a bill that would mandate two-person train crews on freight trains—one certified locomotive engineer and one certified conductor.

Introduced by Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska) Jan. 3, 2017, The Safe Freight Act states in part: “Effective 30 days after the date of enactment of the Safe Freight Act of 2017, no freight train or light engine used in connection with the movement of freight may be operated unless it has a crew consisting of at least 2 individuals, one of whom is certified under regulations promulgated by the Federal Railroad Administration as a locomotive engineer pursuant to section 20135, and the other of whom is certified under regulations promulgated by the Federal Railroad Administration as a conductor pursuant to section 20163.”

The current two-person crew bill mirrors legislation that was introduced in the 114th Congress, which garnered 69 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives.

Now is the time to speak up and voice your support for two-person train crews! All active and retired members of the BLET and SMART TD, as well as their Auxiliary Representatives, should contact their House Representatives and ask them to Co-Sponsor H.R. 233, the Safe Freight Act of 2017.

SMART TD and BLET members: Please visit the SMART TD Legislative Action Center (LAC) where you can easily find and contact your representative and urge him or her to support H.R. 233. Click here to visit the LAC and let your voice be heard!

Members can also call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121, and ask to speak with the House of Representative member from your Congressional District. Contact information can also be found online at: http://www.house.gov/htbin/findrep.

Earlier this month, the BLET secured a significant victory for rail workers from the highest court in the United States to protect two-person train crews. On January 9, the United States Supreme Court denied a petition filed by the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway asking that the nation’s highest court review and set aside the 2015 finding by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals that the railroad’s use of managers in place of union conductors was a major dispute under the Railway Labor Act.

The issue of two-person train crews has been in the national spotlight since the July 6, 2013, derailment of a Montreal, Maine & Atlantic (MM&A) oil train in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, which killed 47 people and destroyed the center of the town. The MM&A train was crewed by a single person. Since that time, there has also been movement by major freight railroads to seek collective bargaining agreements to allow for widespread use of one-person train operations. SMART TD and BLET have lobbied to protect two-person crews as being paramount to safety.

“The nationwide fight over operating crew size is far from over, and we are urging all BLET and SMART TD Brothers and Sisters to contact their member of Congress on this extremely important issue,” BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce said. “In spite of what the railroads might say, technology has not advanced to the point that it can replace the eyes and ears of railroad professionals. Please do your part as the job you save may be your own.”

“We will continue our tireless and years-long work of supporting a minimum of two crew members on all trains. An overwhelming majority of Americans from both political parties support this measure: the American people have spoken and are in favor of this bill. It is past time for our government to get on track, do the right thing and support H.R. 233. This measure is a matter of domestic safety and security for railroad workers, passengers, our cities, towns and our entire nation,” said SMART TD President John Previsich.

President Pierce and President Previsich both thanked Congressman Young for introducing the bill.

A full copy of H.R. 233 can be viewed at:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/233/text?r=61

 

# # #

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen represents nearly 57,000 professional locomotive engineers and trainmen throughout the United States. The BLET is the founding member of the Rail Conference, International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

The SMART Transportation Division (SMART TD) is headquartered in the Cleveland suburb of North Olmsted, Ohio. It is a broad-based, transportation labor union representing more than 125,000 active and retired railroad, bus, mass transit and airline workers in the United States. It is a division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers based in Washington, D.C.

SMART TD announces introduction of two-person train crew legislation

Rep. Young

Washington, D.C. (Jan. 17, 2017) – SMART Transportation Division announced the re-introduction of the Safe Freight Act (H.R. 233) by Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) and former Chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, which would require two crew members — one certified locomotive engineer and one certified conductor — on all freight trains.

H.R. 233  would require that “no freight train or light engine used in connection with the movement of freight may be operated unless it has a crew consisting of at least two individuals, one of whom is certified under regulations promulgated by the Federal Railroad Administration as a locomotive engineer pursuant to section 20135, and the other of whom is certified under regulations promulgated by the Federal Railroad Administration as a conductor pursuant to section 20163.” The newly-introduced legislation mirrors H.R. 1763, which received 69 bipartisan co-sponsors last year prior to conclusion of the 114th Congress. A copy of H.R. 1763 can be found here.

“SMART Transportation Division has been working tirelessly to promote safety in the railroad industry. There is no doubt that the safest rail operation is a two-person crew operation. After several major train derailments, we must send a clear message to our lawmakers and the general public that multi-person crews are essential to ensuring the safest rail operations possible in their communities. I would like to thank Congressman Young for his leadership on this critical issue as we continue improve safety on our nation’s railroads for both our members and the general public,” said SMART Transportation Division President John Previsich.

Last year, SMART Transportation Division repeatedly urged the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to finalize a rule requiring two-person minimum crews on trains. On June 15, 2016, SMART TD submitted comments in response to the FRA initial proposed rule. On August 5, 2016, SMART TD submitted additional comments expressing concerns about potential loopholes that would allow the operation of certain trains with fewer than two people.

Last July, SMART TD National Legislative Director John Risch testified before the FRA outlining the justification for a minimum two-person crew requirement. A copy of his testimony can be found here.

Visit our Legislative Action Center and ask your representatives to support H.R. 233.

Human Rights Committee update

Neighbors

In an effort to improve efficiencies and provide enhanced, more cost effective service to our members, the SMART Transportation Division has recently conducted a review of its internal operations. One of the areas identified for restructuring is the process for providing assignments to the SMART TD Human Rights Committee (HRC).

As a result, effective January 1, 2017, the point of contact for the Human Rights Committee will be Tracey Neighbors in the SMART TD legal department in Cleveland. Tracey will intake the initial inquiries, and after consultation with the HRC and legal counsel, will assign the assistance deemed appropriate to the request. This change is intended to provide a more uniform method of intake and handling while preserving the excellent service and professionalism provided by our HRC representatives.

SMART TD established the Human Rights Committee in February, 2000, as part of a broad-based effort to educate SMART TD Members and employers, to promote diversity within our union, and ensure that every voice is heard and respected. Our union shares the same dream as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – that men and women should not be judged by race, religion, gender, age or sexual preference – and only by the content of their character.

To contact Tracey Neighbors, please email: tneighbors@smart-union.org.

Rail labor seeks federal mediation in national negotiations

On December 5, 2016, Rail Labor’s Coordinated Bargaining Group (CBG) released the following statement, requesting that a federal mediator assist in negotiations:

“Despite our best efforts, collective bargaining with the major U.S. Class 1 railroads completely stalled late last week. Therefore, pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Railway Labor Act, we have today applied to the National Mediation Board (NMB) for the assignment of a federal mediator to assist in our negotiations.” Read the complete press release here.

Know the facts before you vote

By John Previsich, President, SMART Transportation Division

SMART TD President John Previsich

John Previsich, President, SMART Transportation Division

It is said that two things to never discuss at a family gathering are religion and politics and for the most part that is very good advice. But I’m going to break that rule here–I view my brothers and sisters in the labor movement as family, but I cannot stay silent while the consequences of the upcoming national elections may have such a severe impact on the working men and women of this country.

Let’s look first at our industry – those of us who work in the transportation field are very much affected by decisions made in Washington, D.C. by a number of Federal agencies. Without exception, the people who lead these agencies and have final say over such decisions are appointed by the President of the United States.

For example, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) are entities that have a direct impact on all of us, every day that we go to work. These agencies make the rules that govern our licenses and certifications. They enact the rules and regulations that govern our safety and well-being while working on the job.

Our members in the air and rail industry negotiate their collective bargaining agreements and enforce their contractual rights under the auspices of the National Mediation Board (NMB), while such activities for our bus members are governed by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) has jurisdiction over rail mergers and abandonments. This is the board that decides not only when mergers can happen, but also which line consolidations and which abandonments will occur–and whether labor protection will be imposed as a requirement of the transaction. And 13c labor protective conditions are a requirement of Federal law when Federal funds are used to enhance bus or rail operations.

Retirement, occupational disability, unemployment compensation and sickness benefits for rail workers are governed by the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB). If you’re a railroad worker and you get sick, you receive Railroad Retirement sickness benefits. If you get furloughed, you receive Railroad Retirement furlough benefits. When you are old enough to retire and enjoy the hard-fought and hard-earned retirement that you’re due, that’s through the RRB.

If you are a rail worker injured while working, the Federal Employers’ Liability Act governs the recovery of lost wages and pain and suffering for you and your family.

If you are a rail worker with 20 years of service and are disabled from working in your regular occupation, the RRB will grant you an occupational disability with full retirement benefits. This occupational disability benefit is something unique to the railroad industry. It exists nowhere else and there are people in Congress today, each and every session, that try to take those benefits away from us – including the Republican candidate for Vice President, Mike Pence.

It’s a fact – Mike Pence, governor of Indiana and former Congressman (R-Ind.), voted against labor’s interests 95 percent of the time while in congress. He voted in 2001 against the railroad retirement revisions that gave us full retirement at age 60 with 30 years of service. During his tenure from 2001 to 2013, there was not a single person in congress with a worse labor record than Pence. The Republican nominee for President has stated that he wants to freeze and roll back regulations, including ones that may affect our safety. Mike Pence has a well-documented history of trying to do just that.

It’s a fact – The Republican nominee for President is Donald Trump, a man without any experience in elective office. Some believe that may not be a bad thing, but it forces us to look at the actual record of Trump’s statements and accomplishments to ascertain his fitness for the highest office in the land.

First, let’s look at Trump’s position on coal, an issue that’s very important to our members. Anyone who watched the Republican convention may have noticed the signs in the audience, “Trump digs coal.” But a review of the facts shows that Trump has no credible plan to return the coal business to profitability, a requirement for increased production. The downturn in coal comes from a number of factors connected to global economics and cheaper alternative fuels such as natural gas. While Trump makes empty promises, Democratic Nominee Hillary Clinton is actually meeting with workers and labor leaders in the coal industry to develop strategies to support and assist the impacted workers.

It’s a fact – Now, what about Mr. Trump’s promise to bring manufacturing back to America? Another simple statement without any credible plan for actually accomplishing that objective, so once again we are compelled to look at the record. Here we find that Mr. Trump says that he will bring the jobs back but in the next breath he declared that the reason we’re not competitive in the global market is because America’s wages are too high. And the record also shows that every product with Trump’s name on it is currently manufactured in a low wage foreign country.

It’s a fact – Trump supports a national right-to-work rule. We all know what that means. Workers can freeload. They can have a union represent them, and they don’t have to contribute a nickel. They don’t have to support the union, they don’t have to support the effort, they don’t have to support the cause. They can even work against the union and their fellow workers and still get the benefit of your leadership and your activities in the day-to-day ensuring of agreement compliance and a safe workplace.

In an interview with the Washington Examiner, Trump said he favors states with right-to-work laws because, “it is better for the people to not have to pay union dues if they don’t want to…It gives great flexibility to the companies.”

It’s national right-to-work for less, and nothing more than a Republican-led tactic to take away worker’s rights and bust the unions, because that is exactly what will happen. Unions will weaken, and fade away—the exact intent and design behind right-to-work laws that, if implemented, will result in reduced wages for all workers.

It’s a fact – Trump’s companies have been investigated numerous times by the National Labor Relations Board for unfair labor practices. His companies have been sued by government agencies and his own employees after refusing to pay overtime and benefits rightfully due the employees. He has bankrupted companies to avoid paying contractors who in turn could not afford to pay their employees. He takes pride in not living up to the contracts he signs and has even suggested that is a good tactic for use when he is elected President.

It’s a fact – Presidential appointments impact union workers.
Earlier in this column we discussed the importance of federal agencies to workers in the transportation industry. One need only review the recent history of this labor union and Presidential Emergency Boards to see an example of how Presidential appointees directly impact our members.

On both Long Island Railroad and New Jersey Transit, management came into the most recent rounds of negotiations firm in their positions that there would be zero percent wage increase over many years while imposing draconian changes to health benefits that would force our members to pay more and receive less. Your union refused to entertain such offers and after negotiation and mediation the carriers still refused to budge from their opening positions. The National Mediation Board released the parties, and President Obama appointed a Presidential Emergency Board for each railroad. Those two Boards ruled overwhelmingly in favor of the employees. Both railroads requested a second PEB, with new members appointed by the President. The two new Boards again ruled in favor of the employees and as a result our members are currently enjoying new contracts with industry-standard wage increases and health care benefits.

We are currently in negotiations on a national rail contract with the freight carriers and a system-wide contract with Amtrak, where the carriers have taken a similar position–insignificant wage increases coupled with draconian cuts to our health care benefits. Who would you rather see appoint the next Presidential Emergency Board to decide these contracts–a Democratic President who supports labor or a Republican President who has stated for the record that he believes American workers are overpaid, supports right to work for less and refuses to pay his own employees the compensation to which they are entitled?

This election: A critical moment in history

This Presidential election is a watershed moment in the labor movement and in the history of our country. Make no mistake – the anti-labor Republican agenda is intended to reduce workers’ pay and benefits while improving the “flexibility” of the companies for whom we work. The so-called “flexibility” that Trump admires is just a euphemism for the reduction if not outright elimination of worker’s rights. While “Make America Great Again” means different things to different people, it is clear that Trump’s version is not good for our members.

The facts matter – and we’re going to do everything we can to educate our members, and we want your help. We want you to communicate these facts to your union brothers and sisters, your friends, family, neighbors and acquaintances. Let them know that this is a big deal. Let them know that Trump and Pence will work to take away from our families the hard-fought benefits, protections and securities that our predecessors worked so hard to secure.

Let’s work together to protect our jobs and our families.