We reported previously on Thursday that the Biden administration reached a tentative agreement with the union representing national railroad workers. This was in response to threats of a strike. This strike could further complicate the already fragile supply chain. The administration was under great pressure to prevent another economic disaster with only two months before the midterms. Within 24 hours of the deadline, a deal was reached.
It’s a Christmas miracle!
This “deal” looks more like a bait-and-switch than a miracle. Railroad workers claim they don’t want more money but a flexible schedule for personal leave.
The deal is contingent on railroad workers getting sick days. Workers do not have sick days at the moment, due to labor shortages across all industries. The unions demanded that railroad companies agree to unpaid sick days. Unions had initially asked for more, including emergency and family medical leave.
In a statement, President Biden stated that the tentative agreement reached tonight was a significant win for America’s economy and people. His administration was part of a 20-hour negotiation between the sides. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh mediated and Biden joined in the final hours. It is a victory for the tens of thousands of rail workers who worked tirelessly during the pandemic to ensure that America’s families and communities received their essential goods.
It turns out, however, that details of the deal were not revealed to rail workers. Some are now questioning whether they actually got what they asked for.
The Washington Post:
Even though the agreement was reached, there were still many questions. The parties to the negotiations have not confirmed the number and eligibility of workers for unpaid sick days. Details about other provisions of the agreement remain unclear.
On Thursday, the reaction to the deal from rank-and-file union members was mixed. Some raised the possibility of refusing to ratify it. On Thursday, dozens of railroad workers vented their anger at their union leadership. They agreed to one additional day off. However, they claimed that this did not address their concerns about working conditions. Others expressed frustration that details of the deal were not revealed. It is not clear how widespread the criticism is among members.
Ron Kaminkow (a locomotive engineer and member of The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen) stated that it is difficult to understand the meaning of this agreement right now. Even the best scenario isn’t a huge victory for labor. But the devil is in details. Even the worst scenario could prove to be very disastrous.”
We were told by a union insider that it came down to three sick days per year. However, it was more difficult than you might think for rail companies.
“The biggest problem was that locomotive engineers wanted only 3 unpaid days per year. It sounds simple enough, but when you consider the fact that there were tens to thousands of employees, it is not possible for rail companies to cover shifts.”
According to the insider, nothing significant happened during the negotiations.
This may seem like a situation that was avoided by the untrained eye, but there are more factors at work. It would have been a major story if the rail workers got what they wanted. Instead, we get a story that involves a lot of money being spent but not enough details. The employees don’t know what’s happening.
This is political theater that aims to get the Democrats off the ground before the dust settles on November. It remains to be seen if it will result in a high turnout. The Biden administration needs to prevent the complete collapse of the supply chain, while Democrats campaign for abortion in the worst economic environment in decades.
Bidenland trains run on time.