A message from Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa
Economics of security
The Exxon and Mobile oil companies are beginning to look a lot like Union Pacific and BNSF in that they have a stranglehold on a major portion of our nation's economy. While the fuel companies record huge profits and are unwilling to lower prices, likewise the rail corporations continue to reap large profits, yet they are reluctant to share them with their workforce. Only a few years ago, before deregulation, there were many different freight railroads, many with their own unionized workforce. Most of that system was undone and consolidated with the event of deregulation in rails. Workforces were consolidated, union contracts altered and automation became a new threat to traditional jobs. All this has not proven detrimental to railroad profits, however.
Many working Americans have had to struggle to keep ahead of the increase in gas prices, the rising cost of their healthcare benefits and the skyrocketing price of housing. But this has become a common theme under the Bush administration-Two Americas. One America that can handle rising costs, and one America struggling to keep its head above water. The profiteering of greedy, unchecked corporations is furthering the divide between America's rich and poor.
Can You Put a Price on Safety?
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger can. He reportedly took campaign contributions totaling about $70,000 from Union Pacific and the BNSF Railway. The Governor, in kind, vetoed an important rail security bill that would have gone a long way towards improving rail security in the state. While cities across America are waking up to the idea that much more needs to be done to protect their communities for a potential hazardous chemical explosion, some politicians, like Schwarzenegger, are putting a price tag on safety. Let's make certain that we fight these types of politicians who insist on putting profits before people.
© 2006 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen