Transport workers: Enough is enough

“Enough is enough!” is the message the Transportation Trades Department of the Machinists union wants to get across to the White House and Congress next month. A Capitol Hill rally, set for noon on May 17, will be followed by congressional lobbying.

A statement by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers said in today’s anti-labor political atmosphere, “workers aren’t a priority.”

Transportation workers have been under particular assault, facing a spate of airline bankruptcies and pension terminations, outsourcing of jobs, attacks on Amtrak, assaults on working conditions at freight railroads and a National Mediation Board that has become nothing more than the puppet of the anti-worker, extreme right wing.

IAM President R. Thomas Buffenbarger said that on May 17, “We start taking our government back from corporate America. Every day now for five years, our elected officials have pandered to Corporate America. Tax cuts for millionaires, sweetheart deals for company cronies, earmarked appropriations for fat-cat contributors — this culture of corruption has seeped into every nook and cranny of Washington.

“It is time to say, ‘Enough is enough!’” continued Buffenbarger. “And to say it so forcefully that our elected officials will understand just how frustrated and angry we are.”

The rally will likely be a major display of labor solidarity. The growing list of endorsers includes the Transport Workers Union, the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, the International Transport Workers Federation, the Communication Workers of America, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, the National Coalition of Black Legislators and several local and state labor federations.

The increasing attacks on workers pensions and health benefits, plus the problems created by global capital, have motivated a broader response. The challenges that confront transportation workers confront all working people and the IAM is reaching out to labor and community allies to join them in saying, “Enough is enough.”

Presidential hopefuls have been asked to address the rally and the IAM hopes to bring upwards of 100,000 activists to D.C. to send the message that presidential candidates hoping for labor’s support must address their concerns.

gbono @ cpusa.org