Railroad unions are set to strike over their horrific contracts and working conditions. With split votes on a new agreement, President Biden has been stepping in to try and help negotiations. With his latest threat to involve Congress, the unions have had enough of real progress and not allowing them to address the quality-of-life concerns that are behind the potential strike.
Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be asking lawmakers to enforce an agreement reached by 12 railroad unions before an initial strike date back in September. Four of these unions rejected them, and these four unions make up over half of the 115,000 rail workers. Nevertheless, as a group, they persisted to go forward, and the eight unions who agreed to the deal ratified deals with 24% raises and $5,000 in bonuses.
In Biden’s perspective, overriding the union votes and precedence was because the damage from a strike would be too great. “Congress, I think has to act to prevent it. It’s not an easy call but I think we have to do it. The economy’s at risk.”
At the heart of the debate is the desire for these rail workers to be able to have less-demanding schedules so that workers can easily take a day off. Additionally, they are asking for paid sick time. These requests are simple ones that almost every other major industry has in the country. Should an agreement not be reached, they are still prepared to strike later this month.
Meanwhile, Biden is proving that he doesn’t care about the needs of the railroad workers. He’ll just steam past all of their concerns.