SDUSA’s National Executive Committee passed the following unanimously this week:
Social Democrats USA stands with the people staffing our rail industry. The economy is for the good of people: it’s unacceptable to rationalize sacrificing worker wellbeing as fuel for economic prosperity. As social democrats, we hold fast the truth that wealth has no value except as a tool to enrich the lives of everyone.
We affirm and uplift Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, the sole Squad member who voted against President Biden’s recent legislation designed to curtail our rail workers’ exercise of their hard-earned right to bargain for a healthy, people-friendly work situation, including a situation wherein they have paid sick leave that they can use as needed without fear of negative repercussions.
We also affirm and uplift the seven other Democrats — Judy Chu, Mark DeSaulnier, Jared Golden, Donald Norcross, Mary Peltola, Mark Pocan and Norma Torres — who remembered, in this one vote, their mandate to serve the American people. Thank you!
We understand the eight rail unions — representing just under half of our unionized rail workers — that voted in favor of accepting the deal as it stands were satisfied with the positive changes, including a pay raise and the addition of one more paid day off. However, the workers in one of these unions, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), have just voted in a new president, Eddie Hall, who opposes the deal and asserts that incumbent Dennis Pierce, who pushed for the deal, was not listening to workers.
In contrast, the four rail unions — representing just over half of our unionized rail workers — that voted against it were not satisfied with the areas of lack, including the absence of any paid sick leave. The justification that they could just use a paid vacation day or paid personal day in lieu of sick leave, fell flat given their common experience of being threatened with punitive action if they actually did so.
Again, we at SDUSA stand with the right of workers to strike to improve their situation, understanding that it’s when a strike has a larger impact that it can actually shift things in workers’ favor!