The future of working families in America
A message from IBT General President James P. Hoffa
Railroad Security Issues
The safety of our nation's railroads is not getting the attention that it should from the White House. Since 9/11, nearly $4.5 billion in security funds have been directed toward the airline industry. And, although that is important, railroads see nearly 16 times more public traffic than airlines. Yet, the funding for railroad security from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is critically low and they still have not hired a staff person to coordinate rail security. With less than $100 million allocated toward railroad security, our hardworking members on Amtrak, Burlington Northern, Union Pacific, Long Island Railroad, Metra, Metro North and other freight and passenger lines are still lacking the proper training they need to counter a terrorist attack. All of our members need training on how to handle personal protective devices, such as gas masks, and emergency evacuation procedures.
Three Congressional leaders, Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Jerry Brown (D-OH) organized events in their districts for a rail security day in June. Each press conference was focused on the urgent need for rail security funds and members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen spoke about the security breaches they see daily. All of the shared insights pointed out that downsizing by rail corporations has increased the vulnerability of our rail lines.
A Change in the White House
The Bush White House, often characterized as one of the most corporate oriented administrations in years, is ripe for change. In contrast, the Democratic candidate, John Kerry, has pledged to reauthorize funding to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that the Bush administration has so wantonly taken away, raise the minimum wage, restore funding to improvements in transportation infrastructure and support increased funding for rail security. Now that John Edwards has joined the Kerry ticket, the campaign will be even more energized. We cannot let this election be dominated by corporate interests and others who are unconcerned with the livelihood of working families. I look forward to traveling the country over the next three months and talking to Teamsters/BLET members about the importance of voting for the Kerry-Edwards ticket. We must take back the White House for working families.
© 2004 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen