A message from Teamsters President Jim Hoffa

Change To Win!

We recently released "High Alert: Workers Warn of Security Gaps on Nation's Railroads" The report is the first of its kind to rely completely on the first hand observations of rail workers. Not surprising, the rail corporations are disputing the validity of the report.

For years rail corporations have been touting their safety records as proof that they provide safe working conditions for their employees. What we learned from the survey is exactly the opposite. Unsecured engines, crew fatigue and the lack of basic safety and evacuation training were just part of what our members reported.

Several congressmen attended our press conference on Capitol Hill. "We must have industry and workers work collectively on a plan for rail security," said Bennie Thompson (D-LA) the Democratic head of the House's Committee on Homeland Security. "Our rail workers are not being properly trained," said Ed Markey (D-MA). "Security is mediocre, yet there has been no national planning to ensure the safety of the system. The security plan now in place leaves ordinary people behind."

At the same press conference we invited the mother and father of Chris Seeling, the BLET engineer who died this year due to inhaling chlorine gas after a dark territory accident, to speak. "We haven't learned our lessons," said Steve Seeling, Chris' father "We need to eliminate dark territory on today's railroads. With technology such as in-cab warning devices and stronger tank cars, this type of accident could have been prevented."

We expect that Congress will soon introduce new legislation that boosts funding for rail security and will hold rail corporations accountable for the safety of their employees-something they have shirked for years.

A New Path for the American Worker

At the Change to Win federation convention in September, we set a new path for the American worker. Our new federation is a mighty sum of its parts. Six million workers strong. We are janitors and casino workers; UPS drivers and farm workers; nurses and construction workers; truck drivers and grocery workers; locomotive engineers and meat cutters. We are the backbone of the American workforce.

The unions in this new federation show the diversity of our membership. We are the American rainbow - African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic and white. We are from Alaska, Maine, California and Puerto Rico. We are trade unionists - united to build a stronger movement.

We are here to change the way the American labor movement operates. We are putting our money where it needs to be: organizing. We are working together. No member of a coalition union will ever stand alone again.

We will stand together. We will fight together.

 

© 2005 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen