(WASHINGTON) – The International Brotherhood of Teamsters issued the following statement from General President Jim Hoffa in response to the House of Representatives voting to pass the Omnibus Appropriations Bill last evening.
“In what can only be characterized as political cowardice, 219 members of the House ignored the potential harm represented by special interest provisions in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill, and narrowly passed it in the dead of night.
“I am sure that arms were twisted and promises and threats were made in equal measure to pass a spending bill that is rife with provisions that will only prove damaging to the constituents these officials pledged to represent.
“Sadly, this has become the stock and trade of Congress – bow down to corporate interests with their deep coffers while placing an ever-mounting financial burden on regular, middle class Americans.
“In one sweep of the pen, pension policies that have protected millions of workers for decades could be irrevocably changed resulting in an untold number of retirees losing a substantial percentage of their fixed income should reductions be required. And who benefits? UPS – a $100 billion, Fortune 50 company that is trying to squirm out of an obligation it agreed to when it withdrew from the Teamsters Central States Pension Fund.
“How did so many pension funds reach this critical stage? The government allowed banks to make risky investments with money from pension funds –the same type of financial gambles that a provision in this spending bill will allow to be made again.
“And while our pension funds are being put at risk by these provisions, trucking companies are pulling the strings of their puppets in Congress to roll back hours of service rules so they can force drivers to work 80 hours a week with insufficient rest.
“There has to be a line drawn. We cannot allow legislation that could never stand on its own merit to be tacked on to the omnibus spending bill. I urge the Senate to do the right thing and vote down this spending bill.
“The Teamsters Union and its 1.4 million members will remember those that stood by working families and those that turned their back on us when we needed them the most.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.