Transportation Union: That WAS Impolitic, but Good Apology

By August 6, 2009Labor Unions

From the United Transportation Union, posted on its website,, July 7:

“The selection by President Obama of Dan Elliott and Joe Szabo to head major transportation regulatory agencies is tribute to the political influence of the UTU, which flows from the UTU PAC,” said UTU International President Mike Futhey. “We have good reason to expect President Obama to reach into the UTU ranks for other appointments in the near future.”

And from The Journal of Commerce, “Union Chief Apologizes on STB Nod“:

UTU president hopes controversy won’t “derail” Elliott’s nomination
The head of the United Transportation Union sent a quick apology to key senators after members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee erupted in anger over a union claim of influence in the nomination of Daniel R. Elliott to lead the Surface Transportation Board…[snip]

The committee approved Elliott among a number of Obama administration nominees on Aug. 5, clearing them for confirmation by the full Senate. But the panel added a “hold” on Elliott’s choice so they could first deal with a UTU statement indicating the influence of its political action committee led to his nomination.

That hold would prevent the full Senate from voting on Elliott; if it is not removed in the days before an Aug. 10 recess begins, the Senate could not consider him for the STB until it returns next month. But the episode also left a cloud hanging over what had appeared to be a sure nomination.

“I want to profusely apologize,” UTU International President Malcolm Futhey said in his letter to committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W. Va., and ranking Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas. “It is my sincere hope that my badly chosen words will not derail his confirmation.”

It’s certainly not Dan Elliott’s fault, so it’s hard to imagine him suffering the consequences. The boasting definitely makes it harder for President Obama to reach into the UTU ranks for other appointments in the near future.

Leave a Reply