On Thursday, December 11, 2014, Los Angeles native Edward Wytkind will receive a City of Justice Award from the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE). Mr. Wytkind is being recognized for his more than two decades of work as a national expert and advocate for bipartisan public policy solutions for America’s transportation system and infrastructure needs. As president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), Mr. Wytkind represents 32 affiliate unions who in turn represent several million aviation, rail, transit, motor carrier, highway, and maritime and longshore workers.
Joining such past honorees as NAACP President Ben Jealous and the actor Sean Penn, Mr. Wytkind will receive the City of Justice Award at LAANE’s sold-out dinner event at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles on Thursday.
“The failure to invest in and modernize our transportation systems has not only jeopardized our economic health, it has contributed to a larger crisis of faith in what this nation once was known for: getting things done,” Mr. Wytkind said. “Cities of the Future must be about creating not just jobs but careers. They must be about lifting people from poverty by insisting on the living wages that reflect the values of a good nation. They must be about getting back to a time when America builds things and uses smart, strategic investments to create grand and modern infrastructure, symbols of a thriving and powerful economy. And they must be about more than creating individual wealth – they must be about prosperity shared by all.”
TTD is a primary leader and member of the Steering Committee of the Jobs to Move America coalition. Jobs to Move America unites more than 40 community, labor, civil rights, academic, philanthropic, and environmental organizations, advocating for cities to make our transit dollars go the distance – to build better, cleaner public transit systems, to create and retain good manufacturing jobs, and to generate opportunities for unemployed Americans like veterans, single parents, and residents of low-income neighborhoods. Every year, United States transit agencies spend about $5.4 billion on bus and rail car purchases. Much of this money goes to global companies that manufacture significant portions of our buses and trains overseas, bypassing millions of unemployed Americans and struggling communities.
“LAANE and JMA came forward with a plan that rewards high-road employers who pay living wages, train their workers, invest in plants here in America, and target hiring to disadvantaged Americans including the men and women who fight our wars and then struggle to find meaningful employment when they return,” Mr. Wytkind said.
As a leader of the Jobs to Move America coalition, Mr. Wytkind has been interviewed and quoted on issues related to good jobs and transportation in media outlets including Al Jazeera America, Huffington Post, National Journal, The Hill, Metro magazine, the Campaign for America’s Future, the Revolution Radio Network, the Rick Smith Radio Show, and more.
On Veterans Day in 2013, Mr. Wytkind spoke out for public transportation purchasing to put veterans to work in good manufacturing jobs, saying, “One of the greatest ways we can thank our veterans, the men and women who put their lives on the line for us every day, is to make sure they have jobs when they come home and have the training they need to compete for those jobs.”
Recently, Mr. Wytkind has called on Congress to address long-term solutions to America’s infrastructure deficit. He has also championed investment and job-creating policies attached to transportation projects like California High Speed Rail.