AFL-CIO's TTD begins mobilization as President Bush seeks to silence rail workers

(The AFL-CIO's Transportation Trades Department (TTD) issued the following news release on October 4.)

In response to a Bush administration move to suppress rail workers from speaking out on critical issues of working conditions, safety, and pay, AFL-CIO rail unions and their members have launched a national mobilization which has already generated thousands of protest e-mails to the Bush administration and Congress.

Edward Wytkind, President of the AFL-CIO's Transportation Trades Department, condemned what he termed the Bush administration's, "thin bureaucratic smokescreen of new 'filing fees' to cut down on the number of rail workers who file grievances demanding workplace safety and security and an end to unfair corporate behavior."

The proposal being advanced by Bush appointees to the National Mediation Board would only apply to workers, not management, Wytkind said. For over 70 years the federal government has provided arbitration for labor-management disputes as part of an agreement between labor, management and our government that aims to reduce disruptions in rail service.

"The intent of these 'reforms' is crystal clear: silencing workers and tilting the playing field in management's favor. This one-way tax on workers' legal rights is yet another example of the White House's long-running assault on collective bargaining. So what's next, having to pay to vote?" Wytkind asked.

The Bush proposal has sparked bipartisan opposition on Capitol Hill. Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Tom Harkin (D-IA), the chairman and ranking members of the Senate panel overseeing NMB funding, jointly wrote the Board in opposition to the plan, an action also recently undertaken by Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA), the ranking member of the Senate labor committee.

"Rail workers won't let George W. Bush get away with trying to silence us," Wytkind said, "We demand that the Bush administration abandon this blatant assault on fairness."

Go to to learn more about this mobilization.

TTD represents 35 member unions in the aviation, rail, transit, trucking, highway, longshore, maritime and related industries. For more information, visit .



© 2004 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen