August 3, 2009

(CHICAGO–Aug. 3)–Have you ever thought of contributing to the UTU’s political action committee—UTU PAC—but hesitated because you didn’t quite understand what UTU PAC does for you and your family?

Well, now there’s no excuse. If you don’t understand what UTU PAC does, all you have to do is find a UTU PAC Leader and read his T-shirt. Every Illinois UTU member who donates more than $100 a year to UTU PAC has been designated a “Leader” and awarded a special T-shirt that tells the UTU PAC story.

“The garment literally is a laundry list of what UTU PAC has accomplished for railroad crew members and their families,” said UTU Illinois Legislative Director Bob Guy.

“The front of the shirt reads, ‘For my UTU-PAC contribution I got this fancy shirt and…’”

Following that introduction come seven bullet points:

• A national agreement, raises and retro pay

• A national rail safety bill

• Increased Amtrak funding and retro pay

• 60/30 Railroad Retirement

• 13-C protections for transit workers strengthened

• A strong voice in our state capitol and Washington

• And then some!!!

“The shirt says it all,” Guy said. “It tells members that supporting UTU PAC is their best guarantee they’ll be protected by state and federal laws that assure them a safe workplace, an effective defense against unfair and arbitrary supervisors, prompt medical treatment, and a soundly managed, fully funded Railroad Retirement system that allows them to retire with dignity.”

Most important of all, Guy said, is that the shirt makes clear that it’s member contributions that make all these good things happen.

“As its name suggests, UTU PAC is a Political Action Committee,” he said. “That means it raises money from voluntary member contributions to support the campaigns of political candidates who have a record of supporting legislation that protects railroad workers and their families.

“Quite simply, UTU PAC is how we help those who help us,” Guy said. “Political campaigns are expensive, so UTU PAC collects voluntary contributions from UTU members and distributes them to candidates who are pro-union on key issues such as safety, wage and job protection, medical care and retirement. We use these contributions to help candidates who are sympathetic to the needs of railroaders and their families.”

It’s easy to contribute, too, Guy said.

“Just contact the legislative rep in your Local and ask to have a certain number of dollars deducted regularly from your paycheck to support UTU PAC,” he said. “A dollar a day would be ideal, but as little as $100 a year will qualify you as a UTU PAC Leader and earn you a T-shirt of your own.”

The payoff can be huge, Guy said.

“I like that last bullet point that says, ‘And then some!!!,’” he said. “Do you realize that in addition to all the wage and hours and safety legislation our UTU-PAC dollars have won for us, we now have an A-Team in Washington that understands rail transportation and rail labor issues more firmly than any set of officials in more than a generation?

“And the new Rail Safety Improvement Act drafted by one of rail labor’s best friends, Cong. Jim Oberstar of Minnesota, is already paying dividends,” Guy said. “It amended the Hours of Service Act and provided additional rest regulations for our fatigued and overworked freight members. Result: Some of our furloughed members already are being called back to work.

“That’s what happens when you have a voice in who represents you in Washington and the state capitols” Guy said. “There is no better way to help yourself and your family than by donating to UTU PAC.

“UTU PAC Committee members Bill Hardlannert, Vice Chairman, and Grady Crippin, Secretary, join me in thanking each leader for his continued dedication to the UTU PAC Program,” Guy said. “Keep up the good work!”