U.S. and British transport workers form alliance

WASHINGTON and LONDON – The Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) and the UK-based National Union of Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers (RMT) announced today that both unions have agreed to a “Trans-Atlantic Alliance,” to cooperate on safety issues; launch joint campaigns targeting employers in-common; and advance a global strategy promoting the right of workers to organize unions and bargain to improve their working lives.

“This is an important step for everyone who works in the transport industry on both sides of the Atlantic,” said TWU International President James Little. “It means the voices of working men and women will be heard loud and clear in the U.S. and the United Kingdom.  With privileged elites in both countries demanding ‘austerity’ for us while enjoying record profits and lavish lifestyles, there’s never been a better time for workers to join hands across borders and across the ocean to build a stronger, smarter, and more sophisticated international labor movement.”

“This is great news if you work in transport in the U.S. or the U.K.,” said RMT General Secretary Bob Crow. “But if you’re a corporate executive who doesn’t want to treat workers fairly, or a government official who doesn’t understand the value of public employees…watch out. We’re stronger today than we were yesterday. We’re going to pool resources, share research and conduct joint campaigns to advance the pay, pensions, health care and working conditions of transport workers on both sides of the Atlantic.”

“This is the right move at the right time,” said Little. “Our members face many of the same employers and the same wrong-headed government policies. Together, we can be a more effective voice for working people.”

“Let’s face it: Companies are global, and any trade union that doesn’t operate on a global basis isn’t really in the game,” said Crow. “RMT members have always been forceful advocates for workers and for progressive issues, and TWU members are like-minded. It’s a good fit and we’re excited to move forward.”

The U.S. Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) represents 200,000 workers and retirees, in commercial aviation, public transportation, passenger railroads and gaming. The U.K.-based National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) is Britain’s fastest growing trade union, representing more than 80,000 members in almost every sector of the transport industry, from mainline and underground rail to shipping and offshore, buses, and road-freight.

Photo: Employees of Amtrak have formed an alliance with the TWU’s U.K. partner union.   Phil Gosney/Amtrak/AP