SMART - TD Local 306

Serving Sioux City, Mason City & Eagle Grove on UPRR Former C&NW Lines


Senator calls for $1 trillion infrastructure investment - 1/28/2015

Senator calls for $1 trillion infrastructure investment

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) Jan. 27 introduced legislation to rebuild America’s crumbling network of roads, bridges, transit systems and other infrastructure projects. The five-year plan would invest $1 trillion in the effort and create or maintain at least 13 million decent-paying jobs, according to Sanders, the Senate Budget Committee ranking member.

The legislation is cosponsored by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), the appropriations committee ranking member, and is supported by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the AFL-CIO and many others.

“For too many years, we’ve underfunded our nation’s physical infrastructure. We have to change that and that’s what the Rebuild America Act is all about. We must modernize our infrastructure and create millions of new jobs that will put people back to work and help the economy,” Sanders said.

“My legislation puts 13 million people to work repairing the backlog of infrastructure projects all across this country. These projects require equipment, supplies and services, and the hard-earned salaries from these jobs will be spent in countless restaurants, shops and other local businesses. It’s no surprise that groups across the political spectrum – from organized labor to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – agree that investing in infrastructure will pay dividends for future generations.”

Sanders’ bill makes targeted investments in roads, bridges, transit, passenger and freight rail, water infrastructure, marine ports and inland waterways, national parks, municipal broadband and the electric grid. A short summary of the bill can be found here and the text of the bill itself is here.

“By making smart federal investments in our nation’s infrastructure, we can create jobs and opportunities today, while strengthening our economy for tomorrow. I’m proud to cosponsor the Rebuild America Act,” Mikulski said.

Tom Trotter, legislative representative for the AFL-CIO, said Sanders proposal will “raise the profile about the serious needs of our nation’s infrastructure. This proposal provides a stark blueprint of what needs to be accomplished and provides an opportunity to create millions of new jobs.”

Casey Dinges, senior managing director at the society of engineers, said: “Senator Sanders’ initiative to invest $1 trillion over five years through his Rebuild America Act will have a far-reaching impact on restoring and modernizing our nation’s aging infrastructure.”

And former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a leader of the Building America’s Future initiative, said: “America’s infrastructure is falling apart. It is time to get serious about modernizing our infrastructure as the consequences of further inaction are unconscionable.”

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Middle class shrinks further as more fall out - 1/27/2015

Middle class shrinks further as more fall out

The middle class that President Obama identified in his State of the Union speech last week as the foundation of the American economy has been shrinking for almost half a century.

In the late 1960s, more than half of the households in the United States were squarely in the middle, earning, in today’s dollars, $35,000 to $100,000 a year. Few people noticed or cared as the size of that group began to fall, because the shift was primarily caused by more Americans climbing the economic ladder into upper-income brackets.

Read the complete story at The New York Times.

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Secretary of Labor’s statement on union membership - 1/27/2015

Secretary of Labor’s statement on union membership

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez issued the following statement on the department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics report released today on union membership in 2014:

“Today’s report confirms what we’ve always known: that belonging to a union makes a powerful difference in people’s lives, providing greater economic security and helping them punch their ticket to the middle class.

“The 2014 BLS data show that among wage and salary workers, those in a union have median weekly earnings of $970, compared to $763 for those not in a union. That’s not pocket change – it amounts to greater than $10,000 a year more for union members. There is also a smaller gender pay gap for unionized workers – women who are in a union come closer to parity with their male counterparts than do non-union women. The report also finds that the union membership rate was 11.1 percent last year, 35.7 percent for public-sector workers.

“The economy is resurgent, with an unemployment rate well below 6 percent and job growth we haven’t experienced since the late 1990’s. The challenge we face now is creating shared prosperity, ensuring that our growing economy works for everyone. To do that, we need to turn up the volume on worker voice.

“There is a direct link throughout American history between the strength of the middle class and the vitality of the labor movement. It’s not a coincidence. When unions are strong, working families thrive, with wages and productivity rising in tandem. But when the percentage of people represented by unions is low, there is downward pressure on wages and the middle class takes it on the chin.

“President Obama said in the State of the Union that middle-class economics requires ‘laws that strengthen rather than weaken unions, and give workers a voice.’ That means protecting and strengthening collective bargaining rights, and it also means exploring new organizing strategies and other innovative approaches to empowering workers in a modern economy.

“Across the country at the grass-roots level, workers and their advocates are doing just that. Whether it’s auto workers emulating the German works council model, or the dynamic movement of fast-food workers seeking a raise, or efforts by taxi drivers and home health care workers to stand up for their rights, we are seeing more people seeking creative ways to make their voices heard.

“Doing so can and must be done in collaboration with employers. We reject the old false choice and zero-sum thinking – the kind that suggests either workers or their employers can thrive, but not both. Unions succeed not at the expense of business, but in partnership with business. Forward-looking employers recognize that they can give their workers a voice while giving their bottom line a boost.

“To maintain robust economic growth, to create more shared prosperity and a better life for millions of middle-class families, we need full-throated worker voice.”

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Union Plus scholarship deadline Jan. 31 - 1/15/2015

Union Plus scholarship deadline Jan. 31

The Union Plus Scholarship Program is once again offering up scholarships ranging from $500 to $4,000 to help union members and their children attend college. These one-time cash awards are for study beginning in the Fall each year and students may re-apply every year that they are enrolled in school. The deadline to apply for the 2015 scholarship is Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015, at 12 p.m. (eastern time). 

Since 1992, the program has awarded more than $3.6 million to students of union families. Applicants are evaluated according to academic ability, social awareness, financial need and appreciation of labor. It is recommended that students have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

To apply, students, their parents or spouses must have been a union member for at least one year and this minimum must be satisfied by May 31, 2015. The applicant must also be accepted into a U.S. accredited college or university, community college or technical or trade school at the time the award is issued. The scholarship must be used for the 2015-2016 school year.

Scholarships will be awarded by May 31. During the first two weeks of June, award recipients will be individually notified by mail. To learn more or to apply for the scholarship, click here

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NTSB increases pressure for automatic train braking - 1/14/2015

NTSB increases pressure for automatic train braking

The National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday issued its annual tally of Most Wanted Transportation Safety Improvements, adding to the list for the first time the issue of the safety of railroad tank cars carrying crude oil and ethanol.

The safety board also urged the railroad industry to adopt a technology known as “Positive Train Control” (PTC) by the end of this year.

Read the complete story at Roll Call.

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SMART UTU Local 306

No job is so important, no service is so urgent that we cannot take the time to perform our work safely!


Your Local Officers are here to protect you - help us all by calling when you need assistance!  Don't settle for the carrier's attitutude toward you - be involved!

 

YOUR Union Meetings are:

Eagle Grove - 2nd Wednesday of each Month; Godfather's Pizza at 8:00 pm

Mason City - 3rd Wednesday in January, April, July, October; Pizza Ranch at 7:30 pm

Sioux City - As Needed 

 

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