17 votes

Bernie Sanders blocks Republican bid to avert rail strike in Senate

6 comments

  1. AugustusFerdinand
    Link
    More info into the main point of contention for the workers, an untenable near-universal on-call policy linked to a punitive points system that leads to suspensions and termination used by the...
    • Exemplary

    More info into the main point of contention for the workers, an untenable near-universal on-call policy linked to a punitive points system that leads to suspensions and termination used by the likes of labor rights leaders /s Amazon and Walmart.

    Keep in mind, that the railway companies love to push the narrative that the workers get "25-30 paid vacation/personal days per year and more for seniority", but they do so out of one side of their mouth while not mentioning that nearly everyone is always on call and have no scheduled days off. 24/7/365
    Just worked 5 days in a row with the expectation of a weekend/two days off? Too bad. You're on call. You are effectively not allowed to be more than two hours away from your job at any point.
    Can't make it to work? Docked.
    Need to go see a doctor? Docked.
    Phone left at home because your daughter went into labor? Congrats on the new grandbaby, docked.
    Didn't hear your phone ring on Superbowl Sunday? Docked so many points you're now on 10 days of unpaid suspension.

    Add in that the number of employees has been cut by 25% over the past 5 years alone in a push by investors to maximize profits that has led to "Precision Scheduled Railroading" that is a disaster in the making.

    Keep in mind that the nation's largest railroad, BNSF, has 35,000 workers and had $8.8Billion in net operating income last year. They could double their workforce at an average salary of $125,000 a year and still have $4.4Billion left over in profit. Instead they're cutting sick days, reducing safety, working people to the breaking point, and firing multi-decade employees that get sick.


    Details still lacking, but looks like an agreement has been made and is being sent for a vote by the workers. If rejected, a strike won't happen immediately because there's another "cooling off period" to keep pushing it down the line.

    18 votes
  2. [2]
    vord
    Link
    For those interested, you can watch the video on C-SPAN. Mr. Burr's introduction of the bid starts at 04:38:30 PM, and the relevant parts run about 40 minutes. I only skimmed so far, but Bernie's...

    For those interested, you can watch the video on C-SPAN. Mr. Burr's introduction of the bid starts at 04:38:30 PM, and the relevant parts run about 40 minutes.

    I only skimmed so far, but Bernie's quip "I was not aware that Senator Burr was a railroad worker" gave me a chuckle.

    10 votes
    1. cloud_loud
      Link Parent
      Bernie Sanders has always been low-key hilarious

      Bernie Sanders has always been low-key hilarious

      8 votes
  3. [3]
    JXM
    Link
    It looks like an agreement is reached, but I would have fully supported them going on strike. For such a critical infrastructure, having them go on strike gives workers so much more leverage in...

    It looks like an agreement is reached, but I would have fully supported them going on strike. For such a critical infrastructure, having them go on strike gives workers so much more leverage in negotiations.

    The things these unions are asking for aren’t even wild or outlandish. Their demands are perfectly reasonable. They’re asking for the rail companies to get rid of an archaic and terrible demerit system.

    10 votes
    1. [2]
      vord
      Link Parent
      My grandfather worked a railroad starting in the 1920s/30s. His back was permanently in various stages of destroyed, and spent his retirement perpetually in an opiod haze addicted to painkillers....

      My grandfather worked a railroad starting in the 1920s/30s. His back was permanently in various stages of destroyed, and spent his retirement perpetually in an opiod haze addicted to painkillers.

      If we don't want this to be the tale for laborers going forward....give them god damn sick and vacation days. Expand staff and minimize on-call responsibilities.

      Frankly, if these ~260,000 workers are the lynchpin that holds together the entirety of our economy....maybe they should be making as much as doctors.

      10 votes
      1. JXM
        Link Parent
        Exactly. Like I said, they aren’t asking for anything crazy. Their demands are just baby steps toward better working conditions and work/life balance.

        Frankly, if these ~260,000 workers are the lynchpin that holds together the entirety of our economy....maybe they should be making as much as doctors.

        Exactly. Like I said, they aren’t asking for anything crazy. Their demands are just baby steps toward better working conditions and work/life balance.

        6 votes