December 2, 2022

Congress voted yesterday to stop the impending rail strike, but the Senate needed a supermajority to pass the accompanying bill that would have provided workers with seven days' paid sick leave. Via the New York Times:

But Ms. Lummis and Mr. Cramer, like the majority of Republicans, argued against adding the paid leave proposal and said Congress should abide by the terms of the tentative agreement.

“It is in the best interest of all parties that the railroads, not Congress, work through issues such as paid leave directly with their employees,” the two senators wrote.

Liberals, some of whom were frustrated at the push to impose the tentative agreement on workers, argued that the paid leave proposal was a necessary addition championed by union workers. Only one Democrat, Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, voted against the measure on the floor.

“While I am sympathetic to the concerns union members have raised, I do not believe it is the role of Congress to renegotiate a collective bargaining agreement that has already been negotiated,” he said in a statement explaining his vote.

This problem is not solved, it is only postponed. The owners of the freight companies are imposing policies that put their workers -- and the public -- at risk. I wouldn't rule out the possibility of a wildcat strike.

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