TWU Joins Forces with RMT to Create Trans-Atlantic Alliance
In a move to secure better salaries, benefits, and working conditions for all transport industry workers, the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) and Great Britain’s National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) have decided to form a labor coalition called the “Trans-Atlantic Alliance”. The new alliance aims to pool its sizeable leverage in order to negotiate on common interests such as safety and workplace issues; to consolidate and launch influential campaigns targeting the industry’s major employers; and to create a cohesive strategy that advances employee and union rights.
“This is an important step for everyone who works in the transport industry on both sides of the Atlantic,” stated TWU International President James C. Little. “It means the voices of working men and women will be heard loud and clear in the U.S. and the United Kingdom. With privileged elites in both countries demanding ‘austerity’ for us while enjoying record profits and lavish lifestyles, there’s never been a better time for workers to join hands across borders and across the ocean to build a stronger, smarter and more sophisticated international labor movement.”
Added RMT General Secretary Bob Crow, “This is great news if you work in transport in the U.S. or the U.K.” But if you’re a corporate executive who doesn’t want to treat workers fairly, or a government official who doesn’t understand the value of public employees… watch out. We’re stronger today than we were yesterday. We’re going to pool resources, share research and conduct joint campaigns to advance the pay, pensions, health care and working conditions of transport workers on both sides of the Atlantic.”
By creating the alliance, the two unions hope to increase bargaining and political power for their members so workers and passengers alike can enjoy better safety standards no matter which side of the Atlantic they are on. The union partnership will be working on creating and promoting ambitious joint campaigns to promote better work and safety conditions; looking for creative ways to grow their membership and communicate with their members; be an effective counterweight to the political and negotiating might of multinational corporations that aim to erode or do away with worker rights; and to cooperate on making effective policy and cohesive strategies for organizing and bargaining.
“This is the right move at the right time,” commented Little. “Our members face many of the same employers and the same wrong-headed government policies. Together, we can be a more effective voice for working people.”
“Let’s face it: Companies are global, and any trade union that doesn’t operate on a global basis isn’t really in the game,” explained Crow. “RMT members have always been forceful advocates for workers and for progressive issues, and TWU members are like-minded. It’s a good fit and we’re excited to move forward.”
Other trade unions and multinational employers will be observing this new union partnership to see if the alliance will prove to be successful. Though its success or failure will only be evident with time, it’s undeniable that the Trans-Atlantic Alliance is already making its presence and influence felt in the global transport industry.