Date: December 2nd, 2022
For Immediate Release
For More Information, Please Contact:
LAS VEGAS, NV - RWU General Secretary Jason Doering 202-480-0587 email@example.com
DES MOINES, IA - RWU Co-Chair Ross Grooters 515-689-3229 firstname.lastname@example.org
SPARKS, NV - RWU Co-Chair Gabe Christensen 775-682-0889 email@example.com
RENO, NV - RWU Organizer Ron Kaminkow 608-358-5771 firstname.lastname@example.org
ATLANTA, GA - RWU Treasurer Hugh Sawyer 404-290-1961 email@example.com
POCATELLO, ID - RWU Steering Committee Member Paul Lindsey 208-317-7379 firstname.lastname@example.org
CHICAGO, IL - RWU Newsletter Editor Mark Burrows 773-486-7001 email@example.com
MILWAUKEE, WI - RWU Steering Committee Alternate JP Johnson 406-491-1791 firstname.lastname@example.org
CHICAGO, IL - RWU Member Marilee Taylor 773-405-5246 email@example.com
FORT MADISON, IA - RWU Member Jeff Kurtz 319-470-9990 firstname.lastname@example.org
SPARKS, NV - RWU Member Matt Parker 775-772-3675 email@example.com
TOLEDO, OH - RWU Member Matt Weaver 248-986-6079 firstname.lastname@example.org
BOSTON, MA - RWU Member Nick Wurst 508-335-8633 email@example.com
Democrats, Then Republicans Smite Rail Labor
While Railroad Workers United (RWU) finds it despicable – but not surprising – that both political parties opted to side with Big Business over working people yesterday and vote against the interests of railroad workers - not once, but twice, within hours. We suffered a one-two punch at the hands of, first the Democratic Party; the second served up by the Republicans.
First, responding to the wishes of President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the House voted to legislate a contract that the majority of U.S. freight rail workers had previously voted to reject. The Senate would quickly follow suit. In effect, their actions simply overrode our voices and desires. Rail workers – like all workers – should have the right to bargain collectively and to freely engage in strike activity if and when the members see fit and when they democratically elect to do so.
Within hours of the Senate vote sealing our fate on Thursday afternoon, we would suffer a second defeat, this time at the hands of the other party of Big Business, the Republican Party. That bill - which would have mandated that all railroad workers receive seven days of paid sick leave – would receive just a handful of votes from Republicans in the House and, crucially, in the Senate, where it went down to defeat.
“This one-two punch from the two political parties is despicable,” according to RWU General Secretary Jason Doering. “Politicians are happy to voice platitudes and heap praise upon us for our heroism throughout the pandemic, the essential nature of our work, the difficult and dangerous and demanding conditions of our jobs. Yet when the steel hits the rail, they back the powerful and wealthy Class One rail carriers every time.”
Railroad Workers United understands that this fight for justice will continue in the coming months and years. “The rail carriers are too powerful and are a scourge to the national economy,” according to RWU Steering Committee Member Paul Lindsey, “They need to be taken into public ownership and run in the interest of workers, shippers, passengers, and the nation, not a handful of wealthy stockholders.”
RWU believes that railroad workers need to explore options other than the existing two political parties since neither appears to have our backs. RWU also believes that railroad workers need to consider doing away with the archaic and divided craft union system that hampers our unity and solidarity, and initiate the process of building a single and powerful railroad workers union that can win in future rounds of contract bargaining. According to RWU Organizer Ron Kaminkow, “We have been played for well over a century by politicians and union officials alike. The fiasco of recent months will show that perhaps the time has come for railroad workers to push for a unified and powerful labor organization of all crafts, together with a political party that will better serve the interest of not just railroad workers but all working-class people.”