From the BMWED National Division website at bmwe.org
White House Decision to Force Tentative Agreement Does Not Address Rail Industry Disease
Published: Nov 29 2022 9:20AM
The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters is deeply disappointed by and disagrees with United States President Joseph R. Biden’s statement, calling upon Congress to pass legislation that would adopt tentative agreements between Railroad Workers and railroads that do not include paid sick days for Railroad Workers.
It is not enough to “share workers’ concerns.” A call to Congress to act immediately to pass legislation that adopts tentative agreements that exclude paid sick leave ignores the Railroad Workers’ concerns. It both denies Railroad Workers their right to strike while also denying them of the benefit they would likely otherwise obtain if they were not denied their right to strike.
Additionally, passing legislation to adopt tentative agreements that exclude paid sick leave for Railroad Workers will not address rail service issues. Rather, it will worsen supply chain issues and further sicken, infuriate, and disenfranchise Railroad Workers as they continue shouldering the burdens of the railroads’ mismanagement. Indeed, the big corporations, the monopolies that control America – the robber baron railroads – have again profiteered from the problem they created and shifted the consequences of it onto the Railroad Workers, the customers, and the general public. This cannot continue. There must be a change.
Regardless of what happens next, President Biden, Congress and the railroads need to know that this problem is not going away soon. The railroad is not a place to work while you’re sick. It’s dangerous. It requires full concentration, situational awareness, and decision-making. Because carrier management decided to egregiously reduce workforce, it’s more dangerous than ever, and the onus of that rests with them.
BMWED calls upon President Biden and any member of Congress that truly supports the Working Class to act swiftly by passing any sort of reforms and regulations that will provide paid sick leave for all Railroad Workers. BMWED will continue fighting for paid sick days for every Railroad Worker because it is unreasonable and unjust to insist a person perform critical work when they are unwell.