WHEREAS, the recovery of the U.S. economy since the Great Recession and 2008 collapse of the U.S. financial system is not being felt equally by Americans, especially hard working middle-class families, and massive structural inequities must be addressed to both grow middle-class jobs and rebuild the economic foundations of our nation; and
WHEREAS, the Teamsters Union recognizes that we must push our nation’s elected leaders to take action on a comprehensive program to address these inequities and immediately invest in the U.S. middle class; and
WHEREAS, international trade agreements based on the framework of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have resulted in nearly 2 million job losses and the overall erosion of the U.S. middle class; and
WHEREAS, since the enactment of NAFTA, the U.S. trade deficit has increased to over $700 billion; and the pending trade agreements with the 11 other countries in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the European Union in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will continue this trend; and
WHEREAS, our nation’s roads, bridges, ports, airports, railroads and mass transit systems are crumbling and major investment in infrastructure is not only a national obligation, but one that can also get Americans back to work in good, family sustaining, middle-class jobs; and
WHEREAS, the Teamsters Union is America’s strongest transportation union with hundreds of thousands of members working in every transportation industry from freight to package delivery to rail to aviation, and there is no union in America for whom investment in our nation’s infrastructure is more vital to the safety, reliability and efficiency of the work performed by its members every day; and
WHEREAS, the Teamsters Union supported the multi-year highway bill passed by the U.S. Congress which set a steady stream of funding for the next five years, yet fell woefully short of the transformative investments needed to rebuild our entire nation’s infrastructure, and our national political leaders have shown a chronic inability to tackle this challenge; and
WHEREAS, massive new public investments in U.S. energy infrastructure will ensure the U.S. is able to compete in a global marketplace by becoming less vulnerable to the dangerous volatility of global energy markets, while also being able to create millions of jobs for highly-trained workers; and
WHEREAS, our elected representatives must protect the quality of all jobs created by public investments in U.S. transportation and energy infrastructure by continuing to support the application of Davis-Bacon prevailing wage provisions to federally financed construction projects, while also addressing the growing problem of worker misclassification and robustly enforcing our existing safety and wage laws so that no worker is unlawfully taken advantage of; and
WHEREAS, the right of workers to collectively bargain has been the primary way by which workers have been able to access fair retirement and other work benefits in the past, and is the only way to ensure that these benefits continue as the standard for workers in the future; and
WHEREAS, the future of work in this country will require that workers be trained with cutting edge skills, and our education system must reflect the changing needs of our economy and the variety of skilled workers it will necessitate, and this means that Congress must do more to ensure students can better afford all post-secondary schooling, including traditional four- year college degrees as well as vocational training to ensure that young adults enter the workforce with job-ready skills.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED at this 29th International Convention that the Teamsters Union shall embark on a national campaign called “Let’s Get America Working” that will call on Congress to take action on a comprehensive policy program to address massive structural inequalities, grow middle-class jobs and rebuild the economic foundations of our nation; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that for this policy program to be truly impactful, such a program must include the following policy priorities: robust investment in U.S. transportation and energy infrastructure needs that also protects the safety of transportation and infrastructure workers; protection for earned pension and other retirement benefits including social security; support for the right to collectively bargain for fair wages, benefits and workplace labor standards; pursuit of truly fair trade agreements that promote prosperity for all and not just the privileged few; and increased access to job training and college affordability for workers across the nation; and
FINALLY, BE IT RESOLVED that the Teamsters will work to educate elected officials and candidates for elected office of the importance of these policies and their role in developing a stronger future for our nation and our Union.