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Teamsters, Transportation Trades Announce Worker-First AV Legislative Framework

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Press Contact: Kara Deniz Phone: (202) 497-6610 Email: [email protected]

(WASHINGTON) – Warning of severe consequences to safety, working people, and transportation access and equity if driverless vehicles are not properly regulated, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), today announced a legislative framework for the testing, deployment and regulation of autonomous vehicles (AVs).

The two organizations, which collectively represent the interests of millions of frontline transportation workers, are together calling on lawmakers to use five key policies, which promote safety, equity, and the integrity of jobs and wages, as the foundation of any legislation designed to regulate AVs and corresponding technology.

Transportation labor’s principles for AV legislation include:

  1. Prioritizing safety by abiding by the framework developed in the Joint AV Tenets introduced by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.
  2. Appropriately defining the scope of AV technologies, including continuing the carve-out for vehicles over 10,000 pounds, requiring vehicles under 10,000 pounds to have a human driver or operator, and including the regulation of delivery bots and other alternative-design small vehicles being used for commercial purposes in comprehensive AV legislation.
  3. Creating a robust workforce training and job-loss mitigation plan, and a commitment to move this plan in conjunction with any AV bill.
  4. Ensuring consumer rights, equity, and accessibility are key components of any framework
  5. Calling for the assurance that any federal employment policies and procurement plans that include the development and use of AVs will lead to good middle-class U.S. manufacturing jobs. 

Labor leaders warn that if lawmakers fail to adopt these protections, and AV technologies operate unregulated – as has been the case in recent years – the U.S. will face significant economic, safety and mobility challenges.

Reports estimate that as many as 3 million workers could have their jobs replaced or fundamentally altered by automation. Meanwhile, a deluge of recent accidents involving Waymo, Tesla, Uber and other AVs have resulted in serious injuries and even death. And serious questions have surfaced about the extent to which AVs will truly increase equity, transportation access and environmental outcomes.

“Proponents of AVs are quick to champion their potential benefits, and even quicker to ignore fundamental harms these new technologies could inflict on our communities if we aren’t careful,” said TTD president Greg Regan. “The policies promoting safety, equity, and economic justice that transportation labor unions have outlined today must act as the cornerstone of any AV legislation Congress considers.”  

“Now is the time for lawmakers to step up and protect the rights, livelihoods and safety of working people. We must ensure workers can be part of the middle class while working in transportation for generations to come,” said Jim Hoffa, General President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

“History tells us that strong unions and worker engagement are essential to mitigate harms that come with rapid changes to industries,” said John Costa, International President of the Amalgamated Transit Union. “Our members have been frontline heroes keeping their communities and economies moving. If policymakers fail to protect working people now, we will face significant job loss, even greater loss of life, while service and safety will take a back seat. The voices of workers, their unions, and the safeguards that come with strong collective bargaining agreements must be at the center of AV debates and legislation.”  

“The TWU’s guiding principle for implementing new technology is ‘Workers First.’ Implementing new technology can be a win across the board, but only when workers are proactively protected. Before they rush to promote unsafe and unproven technologies, lawmakers in Washington, D.C. must prioritize a just transition for the workers who will actually be affected,” said John Samuelsen, International President of the Transport Workers Union.

The policies come ahead of a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing that will examine the promise and perils of automobile technologies.

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.

The Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), provides a bold voice for workers in every mode of transportation and is devoted to protecting middle-class jobs, expanding collective bargaining and ensuring modern, safe and secure transportation operations and infrastructure. For more information, visit us ttd.org.