A message from Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa

Legislative challenges for 2007

Priorities for Working Families

The Teamsters Union is making sure that workers are the focus of the 110th Congress. Our votes and voices changed the nation's priorities. We rejected the past six years of failed policies from the Bush administration.

The global supply chain relies heavily on America's railroads to safely and securely transport goods. Yet the rail corporations have the misguided idea that remote control devices will increase efficiency, but their trials of its use show the exact opposite. Not only are the rail yards using remote control not as productive, but they incur more accidents, some fatal. All the while, the rail corporations have been pushing for a reduction in crews running a locomotive. Our Rail Conference firmly believes that rail employees are the true eyes and ears of the rail system. You can't replace a skilled, unionized rail employee with a robot.

Members on Capitol Hill

Members of both the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division (BMWED) came to IBT headquarters in January for the first Teamster Leadership Academy of 2007. Lobbying members of Congress in the House and the Senate for Amtrak funding, increased rail security and rail employee anti-terrorist training were the leads. Both the Amtrak and rail security issues are part of the Teamsters legislative agenda for 2007. Our members lobbied more than 140 Senators and Representatives. In 2005, we distributed copies of our "High Alert" report to members of Congress, so we know they are aware of the faulty state of rail security, but it never hurts to remind them. As we gear up for the 2008 presidential elections, we must re-steer Congress to work for us, and get them focusing on helping working families.

During the lobbying our members helped the general union movement by informing Congressional representatives that a minimum wage bill must pass. I thank all of you for your help with this labor-wide issue. Unfortunately the Senate passed a bill, but it was not the clean bill we had pushed for. Now our task is to have the minimum wage bill become free of big business givebacks. I ask each of you to contribute to your political action fund. This will give us the clout we require to fight off big-business interests. Every one of our members needs to be involved in the political process - it is a part of what will insure security for our families and our livelihood.

 

James P. Hoffa
General President

 

 

© 2007 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen