Moving forward with President-elect Obama

November 4, 2008

By International President Mike Futhey

Barack Obama is the first presidential candidate to promise in writing that he stands behind the objectives of the United Transportation Union.

We look forward to working closely with President Obama.

He is a leader who has put the well-being of working men and women at the heart of his campaign.

Early on, President-elect Obama pledged in writing to support our rail and bus members, and we have every reason to believe he will fulfill that commitment.

In the weeks ahead, the UTU International leadership will be working with other AFL-CIO-member unions to identify qualified individuals for key appointments in the Obama administration.

As President-elect Obama has pledged to work on behalf of working men and women, the 125,000 active and retired UTU members and their families will continue their efforts in support of the Obama administration as it works to restore the dignity and hope that was relentlessly taken from us by mean-spirited, anti-labor conservatives.

Here is what Barack Obama, who has had a 100 percent UTU voting record in the Illinois senate and United States Senate, pledged to us in writing in a letter dated July 5:

“Our transportation system is integral to our economy and our nation, and we must ensure the people who run that system are protected by proper labor standards and receive the benefits they earn.

“Trains should be adequately staffed, and workers must be protected from fatigue through adequate rest time.

“My administration will preserve and promote policies that recognize the value of transportation workers. I will preserve the sanctity of Railroad Retirement and Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) and push for a fair process to receive and maintain a Commercial Drivers License.

“My administration will push for Amtrak, commuter rail, and public transit system funding, ensuring strong employment levels well into the future.

“I am proud to stand with UTU in our joint efforts to build an America that values the labor of every American and rewards it with a few basic guarantees — wages that can raise a family, health care if we get sick, and a retirement that’s dignified.

“On behalf of your members and their families, I am fighting to make sure that all Americans have access to quality health care, enjoy fair treatment at work, and that all children benefit from excellent educational opportunities.

“The brothers and sisters of UTU, and all working families, deserve a president who is committed to improving their lives. I will honor that commitment, as I have for over two decades in public life. Your efforts are a part of this movement, and I look forward to working with you, not just to win in November, but to deliver on the change working Americans deserve.”

That is what Barack Obama pledged to us in writing.

What do we say in response to President-elect Obama’s written pledge?

We say, “Let us move forward together to restore the dignity and economic security of working families, and to better ensure their safety and well-being in the workplace.”

God bless President-elect Barack Obama and the United States of America.