Work-life balance and sick leave: What rail workers can do to ensure that they are paid, not that they can’t do their job
If a railworker is sick with the flu, for instance, they won’t be paid and will be fired in some cases. We cannot allow that to continue,” said the letter.
The freight rail companies have been unsuccessful in meeting workers’ demands for paid sick leave.
The letter pointed out that both the House and Senate supported legislation to do so, with some nominal Republican support in both chambers along with nearly unanimous Democratic support. The legislation didn’t get the votes it needed in the Senate.
“I mean, the Biden administration has been helpful,” said Greg Hynes, national legislative director for the transportation department of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail Transportation Union, (SMART-TD), the largest rail union representing about 28,000 conductors. They want to do this. We are going to find out if they can do it.
“Following the conclusion of the latest bargaining round, the industry looks forward to using the new agreements as a springboard for further discussions on the structure of our paid leave benefits, enhancing schedule predictability, and addressing overall work-life balance interests,” said the AAR.
“Railroads remain committed to working with their employees to address these priorities holistically and strike the right balance, be it as an industry or on a railroad-by-railroad basis with each union,” the AAR added.
During his three decades in the auto industry, Hinrichs saw workers get allowances for absences that can be used for various purposes, including if they wake up sick. Workers in the rail industry are required to get approval for paid personal days in advance. You don’t have to call in sick the morning of your shift.
Do the Railroad Workers Really Need a Break from the Unions? The Case for Payed Sick Days: A Reply to Biden
The Biden administration asked Congress to vote to block a strike by the unions that could have started this past Friday, saying a work stoppage would be too great a blow to the nation’s economy.
But despite being disappointed most of the unions’ leadership have been restrained in criticizing Biden for imposing unpopular contracts on their members that did not include sick days.
Asked if the reason that most union leaders did not criticize Biden’s decision was because they are hopeful that he will be willing to issue an executive order to get them the disputed sick days, Hynes replied, “I think you’re answering your own question.”
The main author of the congressional letter will speak at the Washington DC rally. That letter points out that President Barack Obama issued such a rule on federal contractors in 2015, but that it did not cover the unionized rail workers.
It is very exciting. It’s a good faith effort to show that we’re essential employees rather than expendable,” Weaver said this week. “It gives me a sense of hope.”
The White House was credited with some credit for the developments by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who said that the deals followed continued advocacy and involvement from the Biden administration.
Hinrichs, who started at CSX last September, says that even as the freight railroads as a group remained staunchly opposed to paid sick leave, he was in discussions at the multibillion-dollar company about doing something different once the national negotiations were over.
His first couple months on the job were punctuated by union votes on the contract. He watched as four of the unions voted against it because of the lack of paid sick leave.
All the freight railroads had been suffering from a shortage of workers, in part because they all furloughed a lot of workers at the start of the pandemic, and workers didn’t come back.
The railroad industry didn’t get any improvements to its image by what happened over the course of those several months.
Prompt Action for the Reionization of Heavy Ion Collisions by Frequency-Rapidity Associated Linear Collision
Republicans Senator Mike Braun of Indiana and Senator Berns were joined by each other on Thursday to challenge CEOs of freight rail companies to follow suit.