Federal Legislative Priorities 116th Congress

Protect Pensions and Ensure Retirement Security for Working Families:

All hard-working Americans should share in the American dream of living their golden years in dignity and without fear of poverty. Hard earned pension and social security benefits should be protected. In the second half of the 116th Congress, the Senate must pass legislation that guarantees that those who played by the rules and were promised retirement benefits have financial security when their working days have ended. Ensuring the long-term health of our nation’s multiemployer pension system is our highest legislative priority. To that end, the Teamsters Union supports swift passage of S. 2254, The Butch Lewis Act of 2019. This bill would put troubled pension plans back on solid ground to ensure they can meet their commitments to retirees today and to active workers for decades to come. We continue to believe that S. 2254 offers the most effective platform for stabilizing and providing benefit security for ten million participants covered by the multiemployer pension system. 

Promote Highway Safety, Protect Commercial Drivers, and Invest in Infrastructure:

This year offers a unique opportunity for Congress to protect transportation workers as it will need to write a new comprehensive surface transportation reauthorization bill.  In doing so, Congress should oppose any attempt to erode wages or working conditions across the transportation industry, including the elimination of payments for non-driving activities, circumvention of state meal and rest break laws, allowing the continued misclassification of drivers as independent contractors, and hasty implementation of new automation technologies. Congress should also take proactive steps to hold everyone in the supply chain accountable for the well-being of the men and women who get their goods to market.  Anyone hiring a trucking company who treats their employees poorly must be forced to take ownership and financial responsibility for the behavior of the companies they contract with. The Teamsters also call on Congress to protect the safety of all motorists by opposing efforts to lower the interstate driving age, increase truck size and weight, or weaken hours of service regulations.  Our nation’s roads, bridges, ports, airports, railroads and mass transit systems are crumbling. Repairing those systems is a crucial part of maintaining a safe workplace for Teamsters and all motorists.  The Teamsters Union calls on the 116th Congress to identify a sustainable and equitable funding mechanism for transportation infrastructure projects and put our nation on a path to having the world-class transportation system we deserve.

Support Fair Trade Agreements That Work for Working Families:

The Teamsters Union supports legislation to establish a new trade policy framework for the country, one that creates and protects good jobs at home and supports equitable, sustainable and democratic development abroad. We were pleased to support the United States, Mexico, Canada Trade Agreement.  We now look forward to working with the USTR to ensure full implementation and enforcement especially with regard to cross-border trucking and labor rights and standards. 

Protect Worker’s Rights, Family Sustaining Wages & Benefits:

Giving working people the freedom to form unions and bargain collectively is essential to strengthen our economy and rebuild the middle class.  The Teamsters Union supports passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, H.R. 2474/S.1306 which gives workers a fair, timely and direct path to form a union and helps workers secure a contract with their employer in a reasonable period of time. We also urge Congress to address the growing problem of worker misclassification and to provide adequate funding for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Department of Labor (DOL) when the current spending bill expires this Fall. With expiration of the Highway Bill and comprehensive public infrastructure investment proposals expected this year, it is essential that the 116th Congress protect job quality and community wage standards by supporting the continued application of Davis-Bacon prevailing wage provisions to,all varieties of federal construction financing. We  also support the availability and application of project labor agreements to federally supported infrastructure projects.

Advance Energy Independence and Invest in Energy Infrastructure:

Massive new public investments in clean energy technologies, energy efficiency and sustainable energy infrastructure have the potential to save and create millions of jobs.  The Teamsters Union supports a balanced approach to comprehensive energy legislation and regulation. One that promotes energy independence by responsibly increasing domestic oil and natural gas production; invests in renewable energy resources like solar and wind as well as low-emission energy sources like natural gas and nuclear energy; furthers new technologies like carbon capture and sequestration; upgrades the nation’s power grid and energy delivery infrastructure like pipelines and transmission lines;ensures power utility reliability and protects against increased energy costs to consumers.  The Teamsters Union urges the 116th Congress to create good, family sustaining jobs by including a robust public investment in our nation’s energy infrastructure as an integral part of any comprehensive infrastructure bill proposed this year.

All Workers Need Access to the Protection of U.S. Labor, Health and Safety Laws.

The Teamsters Union believes that the most effective way to fully protect U.S. workers and end the unlawful exploitation of immigrant workers is to for all workers – regardless of immigration status- to have full and complete access to the protection of labor, health and safety laws. The Teamsters Union urges the 116th Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation that protects all workers, holds employers accountable, and includes a rational and reasonable pathway to citizenship.

Build an Economy that Works for Working People:

For too long the financial markets have been tipped in the favor of Wall Street and the wealthiest 1% of Americans. This lack of oversight and regulation has wreaked havoc on the working families who have lost homes, jobs and retirement savings. The Teamsters Union urges the 116th Congress to reject attempts to weaken the necessary reforms included in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and to close loopholes in the tax system that permit corporate actors and the wealthiest among us to avoid paying their fair share.

Increase Access to Job Training and Make College More Affordable:

To fill 21st century jobs, workers need the skills employers seek. For many, those can be attained by attending college and earning a degree that prepares them for the working world. However, with total U.S. student loan debt reaching more than $1 trillion and the average individual debt over $25,000, cost is an ever increasing obstacle.  Congress needs to do more to ensure  students can better afford their post-secondary schooling. A college degree, however, is not the answer for all people. The Teamsters are at the forefront of worker training, such as our commercial driver’s license training program for those leaving the military–recognized by the Department of Defense as an outstanding program. But there is a need to boost vocational training for the U.S. population at large. The Teamsters Union urges the 116th Congress to pass legislation that increases access to high quality vocational training and to maintain the highly successful Registered Apprenticeships in order to provide options and opportunity for young adults entering the workforce; to support the unemployed and underemployed, to help to rebuild the middle-class, and to ensure that the U.S. workforce is able to compete in the global marketplace.