Solidarity with railroad workers fighting against the unfair contract being imposed by Congress!
At the urging of the Democratic Party, President Biden, House Speaker Pelosi, and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives has voted to take away railroad unions’ right to strike and force railroad workers to work under a contract that doesn’t solve the severe problems they’re facing. The unfair contract was rejected by four of the railroad unions which, combined, represent the majority of railroad workers, including two of the largest unions. And all the railroad workers unions have agreed to respect the picket line if there is a strike. If the bill passes in the Senate and is signed by Biden, it would make any job action taken by railroad workers illegal, denying the fundamental rights of workers to fight for our jobs and conditions.
The tentative contract pushed by the Biden administration and Walsh allowed only three unpaid sick days with highly restrictive rules about using them. Now, tossing in a few crumbs, the House voted to add 7 days of sick leave to the contract, but this is only half of what was initially proposed by the unions and only a fraction of what is needed. This could still be rejected by the Senate while the bill to impose the contract passes. Not only does the contract not make enough improvements to address the conditions and quality of life of workers, it contains further attacks on railroad workers’ pay, benefits, and working conditions. The contract being forced on workers includes:
- No gains on time off or preventing unsafe amounts of hours worked. Railroad workers are on call 24/7, 365 days a year.
- Allowing companies to cut jobs and destroy scheduling protections, making it even more likely for rail workers to be working exhausted.
- 24% pay increases, backdated to 2020 and stretched over 5 years, is less than 5% each year, which doesn’t keep up with inflation or the cost of living crisis.
- Increased healthcare premiums which will be nearly doubled from their current levels by 2025.
- This contract will result in continued understaffing: Railroad corporations have slashed jobs in recent years with over 30% of jobs cut.
This fight by railroad workers for decent working conditions is crucial for rail workers, transportation workers, and the working class in general. An attack on one set of workers is an attack on us all. If the corporations and the corporate political parties succeed in forcing through this contract it can have a chilling effect on all workers’ struggles including recent unionization waves at Starbucks and other major corporations.
Join Railroad Workers United (RWU), the Independent Socialist Group (ISG), and the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) at a protest outside of Biden’s upcoming appearance in Boston. If you are in an organization that would like to endorse this event and is interested in speaking in support of railroad workers, contact:
Nick Wurst, RWU & ISG: 508-335-8633
Paul Bamberger, DSA: 518-860-9378
Day & Time: Friday 12/2 Picket starting 11:30am, Rally starting 12pm. Estimated end time 1:30pm.
Location: Biden will be visiting JFK Library at University Dr N, Boston, MA 02125 for an event. The picket and rally will be held at the corner of University Drive North and Colombia Point, on the parking lot side. https://goo.gl/maps/PCPbhvtL6nWf1ZX4A
Transit: Take the Red Line to the JFK/UMASS stop and follow signage to the ground level bus shelters. Catch the Paul Revere Route 1 shuttle bus, provided by the University of Massachusetts Boston free of charge. Exit the bus at the Kennedy/Archives stop located at the end of the JFK Library and Museum’s parking lot. Visitors can track shuttle buses at https://umb.transloc.com/.
Parking: May be limited or blocked off for security purposes.