A message from Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa
A Growing Union
Organizing new members and bringing more Americans into the middle class is the main goal of our union. We left the AFL-CIO because they weren't focused on organizing. Today, the attacks on the middle class and unions by corporations are becoming fierce. But, our collective bargaining agreements will beat these aggressive forces back.
You've seen organizing successes over the past couple of years at Panhandle Northern Railroad and New England Central. All of these new members knew that in order to improve their lives they needed to be protected by a union contract. Improved health care, wages and retirement benefits are components of what goes into a successful contract. Working men and women want these improvements in their lives. They want the stability that a union contract gives them and I am proud to say that the Teamsters Rail Conference, the BLET and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes are working together to win union representation and collective bargaining agreements for those working on the railroads.
Subcontracting and Security
We are not going to let subcontracting on the rails ruin our way of life. But, that is corporate America's goal-to turn back the clock to another time when they had power. It's amazing that rail executives would even consider using subcontractors with the current security threats that plague our transportation system. You will not find a more reliable workforce than a unionized one. You will not find a skilled rail employee than a unionized one. Yet, rail corporations insist that they need to continue using unskilled, untrained and unreliable non-union workers.
Our members have voiced their concern and, in fact, their willingness, to be trained to prevent catastrophes in the event of an act of terrorism.
Our legislative representatives, joining with those from the BLET and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes, have gone to Capitol Hill to demand that rail corporations lay out their plans for employee training. Clearly the safety of the public and rail employees is not a priority for the giant rail corporations because at each turn they insist that they do have terrorism prevention plans despite the lack of evidence. They say this despite testimony from their own operating employees that very little training has occurred since 9/11.
Neither the Bush administration nor the Department of Homeland Security has done anything to pressure rail corporations to come clean with their plans for rail security. We will continue to bring public pressure to bear because our priorities are the safety of our members and the public.
- James P. Hoffa
- General President
© 2006 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen