The Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, of which the SMART Transportation and Mechanical Divisions are members, issued the following letter today, Oct. 31, on the Transportation Housing and Urban Development bill under consideration in the U.S. House.
The undersigned labor organizations, representing the totality of rail labor, write to urge you to vote against the proposed Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) fiscal year 2024 spending bill when it comes to a vote in the full House of Representatives.
The entirety of rail labor stands in opposition to the proposed draconian funding cuts in the legislation that would devastate U.S. passenger and freight rail networks and the dedicated rail workers that run them.
The bill’s proposed $1 billion decrease in Amtrak funding would devastate existing operations and jeopardize more than 10,000 jobs. Yearly funding from the federal government is critical to the day-to-day operations of Amtrak, including rail service and basic maintenance. Yet, this bill would enact the lowest annual funding level that Amtrak has received in more than two decades and 64% less than the previous fiscal year. Congress prohibited Amtrak from using any Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to backfill any service or maintenance funding gaps and therefore these proposed cuts would decimate Amtrak’s service.
In addition, the bill strips $560 million from key programs that support state investments in rail projects. These cuts would prevent nationally significant projects like the new Gateway Tunnel or the Gulf Coast Passenger Rail Project from receiving the necessary federal funding to move forward in a timely manner.
Altogether, these proposed funding cuts undermine the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s historic expansion of our national passenger rail network and jeopardize good middle-class construction and maintenance sector jobs.
We urge you to oppose this legislation that would reverse the strong progress we have made by investing in our rail and infrastructure systems. Instead, we ask Congress to stand with workers and communities and provide adequate funding for reliable freight and passenger rail service.
American Train Dispatchers Association (ATDA)
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET)-IBT
Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division (BMWED)-IBT
Brotherhood of Railway Carmen (BRC)
Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS)
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM)
International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers, and Helpers (IBB)
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)
International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers–Mechanical Division (SMART-MD)
International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers–Transportation Division (SMART-TD)
National Conference of Firemen & Oilers, SEIU (NCFO)
Transportation Communications International Union (TCU)
Transport Workers Union of America (TWU)
International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT)
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