The entire TCU family mourns the loss of Congressman Don Young. He was 88 years old. Mr. Young had served as Alaska’s representative in Congress since 1973, making him the longest serving member of the U.S. House of Representatives and earning the title, Dean of the House.
Congressman Young was a pro-labor Republican in the House, and had a long record of crossing the aisle to support legislation that would benefit American workers. “In an era of hyper-partisanship, Don Young was always one to support commonsense legislation, working tirelessly not just for his Alaskan constituents, but Americans overall,” said TCU National President Artie Maratea. “On behalf of all TCU members – active and retired – we honor Don Young for his service to our country, and extend our deepest sympathies to his wife and family.”
Most recently, Congressman Young was one of only five House Republicans to vote for the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, and one of only thirteen House Republicans to vote for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).
During the debate over the Infrastructure bill, Congressman Young took to the floor to voice his support and urge his colleagues to vote for the bill:
🚨BREAKING🚨I just spoke in support of the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, commonly called the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Is this bill perfect? No – in fact, few bills are. But if we do not invest in our infrastructure, we risk our economic independence and strength. pic.twitter.com/NSrTJDiQxB
— Rep. Don Young (@repdonyoung) September 28, 2021
Railroad Retirement – Passing “60 and 30”
Mr. Young’s most impactful moment for railroad workers came in 2001 when, as Chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, he marshalled through theRailroad Retirement and Survivors’ Improvement Act (H.R. 1140, 107th Congress).
Today, most railroaders know less about that bill but rather what it created: “60 and 30” – allowing a railroader to retire with full pension benefits at 60 years old with 30 years of service. The bill also improved benefits for widow(er)s, and made financial reforms to ensure the long-term solvency of railroaders’ investment trust.
Former TCU President Bob Scardelletti was rail labor’s lead negotiator on that legislation, and remembers Don Young fondly: “Congressman Don Young was a champion for our railroad retirement legislation in 2001, the changes we made insured our Pension’s survival for generations to come. I will be forever grateful for his leadership and friendship.”