We cannot afford to be complacent

Published: March 22, 2013

Mike Futhey

By Mike Futhey, 
SMART Transportation Division President – 

Election day 2012 has passed, the celebration of an inauguration is done. Now what?

Complacency is not a luxury we can afford. Our fight is not over. After the candidates’ assurances of brighter days for labor, a continuation of “business as usual” is unacceptable. It will only perpetuate the process designed to lead to our demise.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. phrased it best in his “I Have a Dream” speech, exhorting “This is no time…to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.”

There are treacherous sycophants roaming the political landscape like panthers in the night. Their objective: to introduce legislation to change the methodology for calculating votes on the state level.

Such legislation awards proportional votes based on the popular vote within the state. Prior to the election, Pennsylvania’s GOP Senate majority leader considered a proposal to move the state from an all-or-nothing contest to a proportional allocation based on winning specific congressional districts.

Had it been the law of the land during the 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney would now be the President of the United States. The electoral vote would have resulted in a 276-262 margin in Romney’s favor, a 70-vote swing. All of this with President Obama winning the popular vote by nearly 5,000,000 votes, or 51.1 percent for Obama and 47.2 percent for Romney.

These individuals do not heed the observations of history and only view labor as an inconvenient expense to overcome in order to achieve the ultimate prize: greater profit.

Our nation’s economic future is contingent on putting America back to work, not the other way around.

At a meeting of the Transportation Trades Department (TTD) of the AFL-CIO last month, transportation union leaders rolled out a 2013 transportation investment and jobs agenda and condemned damaging cuts to transportation programs and jobs that are threatened by sequestration.

While meeting with the TTD, House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) said, “I appreciate today’s opportunity to meet with the Transportation Trades Department’s executive committee, and look forward to working with them and all parties interested in a stronger transportation network for our nation. By listening to a diverse set of opinions and working together to build consensus, we can improve America’s infrastructure, make us more competitive, and strengthen our economy.”

Let’s hope his statement was sincere.

The good news is that the power to protect our rights resides in our hands. Those targeted for demise, the members of SMART – along with all labor in America – have the numbers to steer the course.

Your support of our legislative department is essential. You can start by signing up for a UTU-SMART PAC donation, or, if you already participate, consider increasing your donation. If you are not already, become personally involved in local politics. Your contribution, through your labor and involvement, is what will lead to a healthy economic recovery.

The recent election celebrations are fading into history. Now we embrace history to deliver the future.