Railroad unions attack the President

Railroad workers’ unions blasted President Biden Monday after he urged Congress to force organized labor groups to accept an interim agreement to avert a strike.

“Joe Biden screwed it up,” Hugh Sawyer, treasurer of Railroad Workers United, said in a press release, hours after the president told House and Senate leaders that one of his top priorities was stopping the looming labor strike.

“He had an opportunity to demonstrate his pro-labor origins to millions of workers simply by asking Congress to legislate to end the threat of a nationwide strike on more favorable terms for workers. Unfortunately, he couldn’t bring himself to advocate for a lousy handful of sick days. The Democrats and Republicans are both big business and corporate pawns,” Sawyer added.

The White House argues that the upcoming strike before Christmas threatens to unleash an economic nightmare on Americans. Four out of 12 unions representing rail workers have refused to ratify a tentative agreement negotiated with the help of the Biden administration in September.

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Railroad workers were disappointed by Biden’s lack of advocacy.
Getty Images
JOE BIDEN
President Joe Biden has repeatedly vowed to be the “most unionist president” in history.
REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division, the third-largest railroad union in the US, said in a statement Tuesday it was “deeply disappointed” by Biden’s decision to appeal to Congress to force a settlement.

“The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters is deeply disappointed and disagrees with the statement by US President Joseph R. Biden in which he called on Congress to pass legislation establishing interim agreements between railroad workers and railroads that do not assume would include paid sick leave for railroad workers,” the group said in a statement.

“It’s not enough to share workers’ concerns,” continued the union, which represents some 23,000 railroad maintenance workers. “A call for Congress to act immediately and pass legislation accepting interim agreements excluding paid sick leave ignores railroad workers’ concerns.”

railway workers
Workers wanted Biden to ask Congress for legislation to end the threat of a nationwide strike on terms more favorable to them.
Getty Images/Mario Tama

Organized labor is one of the Democratic Party’s most loyal constituents, and Biden has repeatedly vowed to be the “most unionist president” in history.

Under the Federal Railway Labor Act of 1926, Congress can force train workers off the picket line by passing legislation spelling out the terms of the tentative agreement.

The White House argues that congressional action is needed to enforce the deal because up to 765,000 Americans could be out of work in the first two weeks of a rail strike, among other devastating economic and security consequences.

The Association of American Railroads estimates that a strike could cost the US economy more than $2 billion a day in lost production.

“It’s not an easy decision, but I think we have to do it,” Biden said Tuesday at the White House, flanked by the leadership of both parties’ Senate and House of Representatives.

“The economy is in jeopardy,” he added.

The House of Representatives plans to vote on legislation to implement the September agreement on Wednesday.

Among other things, the agreement would grant employees a 24% salary increase and $5,000 in bonuses retroactive to 2020, as well as one additional day of paid vacation per year and unpaid time off for doctor appointments and medical procedures.

https://nypost.com/2022/11/29/biden-blew-it-railroad-workers-unions-lash-out-at-president/ Railroad unions attack the President

JACLYN DIAZ

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