September 22, 2006

CHICAGO (Sept. 22)—The UTU Illinois Legislative Board has announced its 2006 endorsements for candidates for federal and state elective office.

To view the endorsements on the Legislative Board’s Web site simply go to the top of the left column under the heading “IL Legislative Board and click “2006 General Election Endorsements.”

“The Legislative Board has endorsed 151 candidates for office,” said Illinois Legislative Director Joseph C. Szabo. “The candidates are running for the U.S. House of Representatives, the Illinois House and Senate, and the state’s six elected executive positions: governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, comptroller and treasurer.”

“I urge all UTU members to consult these endorsements, to use them as guidelines, and to vote for the union-endorsed candidates in the General Election,” Szabo said, adding:

“Please remember that UTU endorsements are made on a bi-partisan basis – they have nothing to do with partisan politics and everything to do with protecting your job.

“UTU-endorsed candidates are found in both parties,” Szabo pointed out. “The only criterion the board uses in bestowing an endorsement is: Does this candidate have a record of supporting legislation that is in the interests of railroad employees and their families? If a candidate’s positions favor the interests of our members, he or she gets and endorsement. It’s that simple.”

All candidates who supported such key UTU initiatives in Illinois such as the Safe Walkways Act, the Railroad Employees Medical Treatment Act, the Crew Van Safety Act and recent amendments to the Railroad Police Act receive the UTU Legislative Board’s endorsements.

“We don’t care what their positions are on other issues,” Szabo said. “We simply want elected officials who will make sure our members have a safe working environment and will protect our jobs.

“The most pressing Federal issue for Congress will be the industry’s push for one-man crews and the threat of a Presidential Emergency Board legislating the terms of our contract,” Szabo said. “We must eliminate the carriers’ quest for a ‘rubber-stamp’ PEB.”

Szabo also urged all members who are not now registered to vote to do so immediately.

“Registering to vote is as simple as going to our website and clicking on ‘Voter Registration’. But do it now. Registration closes October 10.”

Szabo also urged members to utilize “Early Voting” which runs from October 16th until November 2nd.

“Election Authorities across the state have identified convenient locations where registered voters can vote early,” he said. “You no longer need any special reason. Given what is at stake for UTU members – and how erratic our work schedules are – all members are strongly urged to vote early.”

Usually early voting locations are at each County Building. In addition, large urban areas often have additional early voting polls at many City Halls. To find your Early Voting Polling Place simply call your City Hall or County Clerk, or visit and click on “Voting Information”.

“You have much more power than you realize in your ability to protect your job and working conditions,” Szabo said. “It is in the power of your vote. Use it!”