Presentation on theme: "Norfolk Southern General Committee of Adjustment Quadrennial Meeting Roanoke, VA."— Presentation transcript:
Norfolk Southern General Committee of Adjustment Quadrennial Meeting Roanoke, VA
What is likely to move in this Session? While gridlock has been common in the 112 th Congress, there are several pieces of legislation which may move this session: Surface Transportation Reauthorization – the Senate legislation was voted on the week of March 13. It allowed the Secretary of Transportation to push back the implementation deadline for PTC in one year increments if railroads could not achieve those deadlines. It also contained some positive provisions for Amtrak. The House is still up in the air. The legislation introduced by Rep. Mica contains many provisions which would negatively impact BLET members – the implementation of PTC is rolled back to 2020; Amtrak funding is cut and provisions are included to privatize parts of the operations; crew van drivers are exempted from the Fair Labor Standards Act. There have been signs that the House will take up the Senate legislation as opposed to this piece though.
What is likely to move in this Session? Other legislation likely to move: FAA Reauthorization – The Conference Committee report was passed by both the House and Senate and was signed by the President on February 14. It significantly alters the Railway Labor Act and also the way that the National Mediation Board does its business. Labor is trying to get these changes fixed in a separate piece of legislation A JOBS bill – for political reasons, it is likely that job creation legislation in some form will be passed.
BLET Supported Legislation The BLET is proposing several pieces of legislation to Congress: Compassion Leave Act – which would amend the Family and Medical Leave Act in order to allow more BLET members to qualify for leave. It would reduce the number of hours that it takes to qualify for FMLA from 1250 per year to 504 hours or 60% of the applicable monthly guarantee. Hours of Service Technical Corrections – These corrections would help to address issues unintended consequences of the RSIA, and would give railroad operating employees predictable and defined work/rest periods. Among the changes: 10 hour call for unassigned railroad service; employees with regular assignments with defined start times will be covered by provisions of passenger hours of service regulations.
BLET Supported Legislation The BLET is proposing several pieces of legislation to Congress: Amendment to Interstate Commerce Act – This legislation would require that any entity that receives federal funds to acquire, lease or improve existing railroad rights of way be considered a railroad carrier under federal law. Legislation to slow down the implementation of several regulations that would decrease the amount of coal used by electric generation plants.
Other Legislation STB: These bills reauthorize STB and deal primarily with shippers, along with mergers and acquisitions. H.R. 30 -- Biggert S. 49 -- Kohl S. 158 – Rockefeller
Other Legislation Infrastructure Banks: An Infrastructure Bank is a publically funded loan program for both public and private entities looking to build or redevelop qualifying infrastructure. S. 652 -- Kerry/Hutchison S. 942 -- Murray S. 936 -- Rockefeller/Lautenberg (BLET supports this legislation.) H.R. 402 -- DeLauro H.R. 341 -- Johnson – TX H.R. 1122 -- Richardson
Other Legislation Railroad Tax Breaks: These bills give a 25% tax break to either shortline or other railroads on qualifying investments. The shortline bills are more likely to pass due to their broad support, and a version was included in the House surface transportation bill. S. 100 –Ensign S. 672 – Reid/Rockefeller H.R. 721– Jenkins H.R. 2091 – Boswell
Federal GOP Rail Union Attacks National Right to Work – S. 504 and H.R. 2040 would eliminate collective bargaining under the Railway Labor Act. S. 504 has 20 co-sponsors and H.R. 2040 has 72 co- sponsors. Repeal of the NMB rule change which made union elections under the Railway Labor Act more democratic – H.R. 3538 (which would make it easier to decertify unions under RLA and has 161 co-sponsors) and H.R. 548, which is a stand alone bill that would repeal the NMB rule change if the provision had been removed from the FAA reauthorization.
State GOP Union Attacks Right to Work Legislation was passed in Indiana and is proposed or may be proposed in several states: Missouri, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Other states have legislation to limit collective bargaining for public employees. RTW prevents employers and their employees from negotiating an agreement – known as a union security clause – that requires all workers who receive the benefits of a collective bargaining agreement to pay their share towards the union representing their interests at the bargaining table. Members have to voluntarily choose to join the union and pay dues, which weakens unions.
State GOP Union Attacks While proponents of Right to Work legislation tout its economic benefits, the actual effects of Right to Work are: reduce wages by $1,500 a year, for both union and nonunion workers, after accounting for different costs of living in the states (Gould and Shierholz 2011) lower the likelihood that employees get healthcare or pensions through their jobs—again, for both union and nonunion employees (Gould and Shierholz 2011) have no impact whatsoever on job growth (Lafer and Allegretto 2011)
What is at stake in the attacks? There were 14.7 million union workers in this country in 2010. Millions more would like to join -- 60 million workers in America want to have a union in their workplace. Union workers earn higher wages and get more benefits than workers that are not unionized. Union workers make 28% more 78 % have employer provided health insurance (only 50% of non-union workers do) 34% are covered by guaranteed (defined-benefit) pensions (only 11% of Nonunion workers covered by guaranteed (pensions)
What is at stake in the attacks? Unions are the people who brought you the weekend, Railroad Retirement, Railway Labor Act, rail safety regulations, FELA, Hours of Service, employer provided health care, Social Security, the 8 hour workday, the 40 hour work week, job security, sick leave, vacation time, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment compensation, fair pay for fair work, protection from employer harassment and arbitrary discipline, child labor laws, minimum wage, workplace equality and a safer working environment.
What is behind these attacks? Early in 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to allow corporate funds to be used in election campaigns. As a result of this decision, millions were spent to elect corporation-friendly candidates in 2010. The Chamber of Commerce, the National Right to Work Committee and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have been pushing these issues for years. ALEC is allegedly a group of legislators, but is actually a front for corporate interests and has been pushing corporate legislation since the 1980s. Now, as a result of the 2010 elections, we are seeing a surge of anti-union, pro-corporation measures in states and on the federal level.
What are we up against? Railroad PAC giving 2010 cycle: $5,285,391 BNSF = $1,372,241 UP = $1,171,450 CSX = $1,155,750 NS = $869,900 KCS = $63,563 AAR = $212,951 The bulk of these donations went to Republicans. During the past two decades, the railroad industry has regularly contributed more to Republicans (68 percent) than Democrats (32 percent). These numbers do not include corporate donations which occurred as a result of the Supreme Court decision.
What are we up against? After the 2010 elections, railroads spent millions more lobbying the candidates they got elected totaling $34,090,714 (and this is before the fourth quarter numbers are in). AAR = $8,443,331 UP = $3,975,247 CSX = $3,296,637 BNSF = $4,905,000 NS = $4,931,848 KCS = $135,000 Between 2004 and 2009, the railroads doubled their lobbying expenditures.
What are we up against? The railroad industry is one of the most federally regulated industries in the country. We have recently seen the intersection between politics and our livelihoods with these attacks, and the power that politics has over us. The railroads choose to support candidates who will support their issues. We must do the same.
What can we do about it? The BLET obviously does not have the financial resources to compete with the railroads and their billions in profits and their millions in PAC dollars. Our PAC fund is comparatively small. We average approximately 82 cents per member, with only 1/3 of our members giving to the PAC. The BLET-PAC fund is used to promote candidates who best represent our interests and those of our families. All of the races in 2012 will be vital to our interests. We need to ensure that candidates who support our issues get elected in 2012.
Where do we go from here? Most polls suggest that it will be difficult, but not impossible for Democrats to retake the U.S. House of Representatives. Several states are still awaiting the outcome of redistricting. The Senate configuration will depend on the results of a few races that are considered toss-ups. The Democrats, due to retirements, have a more seats to hold than the Republicans. According to the Cook Report, Democrats will defend 23 of the 33 seats on the ballot in November to 10 for Republicans. There are 10 open seats; seven held by Democrats in CT, HI, NE, NM, ND, VA and WI. Of these seven seats, only CT looks reasonably safe for the party today, while five more are in the Toss Up column and the seat in NE is in the Likely Republican column, meaning that it will be very difficult for Democrats to hold onto it. Two Democratic incumbents also have races that are now considered toss-ups – Claire McCaskill (MO) and Jon Tester (MT). In the Presidential race, it looks like the determining factor will be who wins the Republican nomination and also how the economy is doing. Currently, President Obama is in a virtual statistical tie with Mitt Romney, the expected Republican nominee.
Where do we go from here? In the U.S. Senate, Democrats currently hold 53 seats (with 2 Independents choosing to caucus with Democrats) and Republicans hold 47. In the U.S. House, Democrats currently hold 192 seats and Republicans hold 242. In the House, there are currently192 Democrats, 242 Republicans, and one vacancy There are 23 competitive Democratic seats 32 competitive Republican seats 11 open Democratic seats 6 open Republican seats