What is RCPL

Each year, TCU International President Robert A. Scardelletti asks the members, to make a strong commitment to the Responsible Citizens Political League (RCPL) — the political action committee (PAC) that represents the interests of TCU members.

In each session of Congress, the House, Senate, and other entities of the Federal Government, increasingly address issues affecting TCU represented workers. Such issues include railroad retirement, AMTRAK, FELA, workplace fairness, striker replacement, job security and many other achievements we have gained through collective bargaining.

TCU’s membership must have an effective voice with these national decision-makers. An effective voice is established through a strong and well-funded political PAC. A strong PAC allows TCU to reach those elected officials who determine our membership’s livelihood.

TCU does have a presence with these decision-makers. We lobby federal officials, and testify before Congress and regulatory agencies in support of our members on a wide range of issues. But these efforts are not enough.

At stake is the ultimate success of our legislative agenda. The agenda will be threatened if we fail to raise funds essential for contributions to TCU-endorsed candidates. Our influence and legislative effectiveness will be compromised unless more TCU members support RCPL through voluntary contributions.

Make no mistake about it. The participation of all active members in RCPL is essential to the success of our legislative program.

RCPL must rely exclusively on the voluntary contributions of TCU members around the country. By law, only voluntary donations may be used for union contributions to candidates for federal office. The use of union treasury funds for such purposes is illegal. For this reason, a few years back, and as part of our national railroad agreement, TCU negotiated payroll deductions or “check-off” for RCPL with most of the nation’s railroads. The check-off gives members the right to authorize regular deductions from their paychecks for contributions to RCPL. We also have similar check-off agreements with many of our NLRB properties.

TCU needs our members’ help and commitment to RCPL to have an active role in electing candidates for state and federal office. Only by electing TCU friends to Congress and state legislatures can we hope to have our membership’s views heard when legislation of critical importance to our livelihood is up for a vote.

Strong investment in RCPL ensures a strong future for TCU members.

The RCPL enables TCU to raise and maintain those issues of interest to our members. Membership contribution to RCPL helps elect candidates who best represent our interests. Once the elections are over, RCPL helps assure that lawmakers are aware of TCU positions when voting on issues important to our members, such as pensions, workplace fairness and the right to strike. Without RCPL, workers represented by TCU have little chance to speak with a powerful voice in the realm of national politics.

A strong RCPL is necessary given the current short-handiness of Union affiliated PACs. The influence of corporate PACs has mushroomed since Congress enacted campaign finance law in 1974. At that time, there were 89 corporate PACs, compared to 4,594 today. By contrast, there were 201 union PACs in 1974, and there are only 320 today. The average race for a seat in the House of Representatives costs more than $500,000, while the average cost for a U.S. Senate race has risen to 5-10 million dollars.

America is a participatory democracy. In good times and in bad, TCU members have proven their responsibility as citizens of this democracy. We have participated on issues and in elections and we have respected the choice of the electorate. In order to protect our rights and interests we know we must continue to be involved. That is what participatory democracy is all about. If we sit back, those whose interests are opposed to ours will prevail. We don’t intend to let that happen and that’s why the Responsible Citizens Political League is so important.

For a union to effectively pursue its commitment to achieve involvement, it needs the full support of its membership.

Through RCPL, we are able to make contributions under the rules of federal and state laws to candidates who are proven friends of working men and women and who have been endorsed by TCU as friends of labor.

Of course, RCPL is non-partisan, so such endorsements are not made on the basis of party affiliation but on the basis of a candidate’s record, political philosophy and pledge of future action.

The more RCPL can raise, the more it can give to such candidates who support our objectives. And the more pro-labor candidates we can help to elect, the more effective we can be in our legislative efforts.

The effectiveness of RCPL has been proven time and again.

Indeed, it has been through the influence of representatives and senators elected with RCPL support that we have been able to secure improvements over many years in areas such as railroad pensions, unemployment benefits and job security.

Today, RCPL is more important than ever. Although we can never match the millions of dollars collected by corporate and right-wing political action committees, we can demonstrate to lawmakers that TCU members are activists concerned about pro-worker legislation and about electing to office those who care about these issues, too.

That’s where RCPL comes in. It’s our means for raising money to help our friends and defeat our foes.

Of course, any contributions to RCPL help.

But the more you contribute and the more often you contribute, the more effective we can be in helping candidates who are sympathetic to the needs and concerns of our membership.

In recognition of the need for a steady, regular flow of contributions, we urge members covered by the National Rail Agreement or other agreements with check-off provisions to take advantage of a special voluntary check-off program we’ve negotiated with employers.

The special RCPL check-off is the easiest way to contribute. The amount you decide on can be automatically deducted from your paycheck.


Here’s all you have to do:

1) Ask one of your local or district officers to get you a special RCPL voluntary check-off authorization form.
2) On the form, state how much you want to contribute each pay period to RCPL.
3) Sign the form and return it to: RCPL, 3 Research Place, Rockville, Maryland 20850.
For those locals, districts, boards, and divisions not covered by our agreement with check-off provisions, their members may contribute to RCPL by sending a check or money order to:

3 Research Place
Rockville, Maryland 20850

The Responsible Citizens Political League (RCPL) is the political arm of the Transportation Communications International Union (TCU). It solicits and accepts only voluntary contributions. Copies of its reports are filed with and are available for purchase from the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Washington, DC 20463.

Contributions or gifts to RCPL are not deductible for federal income tax purposes.

Published by TCU
Transportation Communications International Union, AFL-CIO, CLC

Robert A. Scardelletti, International President
Howard W. Randolph, Jr., International Secretary-Treasurer
Robert F. Davis, International Vice President and National Legislative Director
Tony Padilla, Assistant National Legislative Director

International Headquarters:
3 Research Place
Rockville, Maryland 20850
Phone: (301) 948-4910
Fax: (301) 330-7673