Larry Willis, president of Transportation Trades Department of AFL-CIO, dies

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Larry Willis
Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO

Larry Willis, president of the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, has died at age 53. The Transportation Trades Department website reports Willis died Sunday of injuries sustained in a Nov. 22 biking accident.

 “The transportation labor family and the entire workers’ rights community lost a leader, advocate, mentor and friend,” TTD Secretary-Treasurer Greg Regan said in a statement. “For more than 20 years, Larry dedicated his life to the labor movement, working tirelessly to enhance the rights and livelihoods of those who work on the front lines of our transportation system. … His mastery of complex legal and regulatory issues set the foundation for TTD’s policy leadership, and raised the bar for demanding and enforcing worker protections throughout our nation’s transportation system.”

Willis’ death was being mourned throughout the rail transportation industry.

Ian Jefferies, president and CEO of the Association of American Railroads, called Willis’ death “a tremendous loss for all who knew this thoughtful, tireless advocate for the transportation and labor communities. Larry always was clear-eyed about his mission as the head of TTD — protect and fight for the people that keep America moving.”

Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn called Willis “a true champion of the nation’s transportation network and the workers who make it possible. … Larry was a strong advocate for Amtrak and believed in the need for a robust, modern, well-funded national passenger rail network for the nation. Our thoughts are with Larry’s family, his TTD and labor colleagues, and all of those in the transportation industry that were touched by Larry’s deep passion and fierce advocacy for transportation workers during this difficult time.”

Chuck Baker, president of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, said, “The short line railroad community extends its sympathies and condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Larry Willis. He was a major voice in the transportation, infrastructure, and labor communities, and his leadership and expertise will be missed by all.”

Willis graduated from the University of Iowa with a B.A. in political science and earned a J.D. degree from John Marshall Law School. He is survived by his wife Amy and daughter Samantha.

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