Rail Workers are the "Canary in the Coalmine" for a Broken System. Let's Fix it!
(Scroll down for a link to a Take Action Tool, as well as sample Letters to copy and paste.)
The Biden Administration's recent intervention between Class 1 railroads and railroad workers bought time, but it did not solve core problems facing railroad workers.
Railroad workers are unlikely to accept the tentative agreement, because the proposed changes still do not adequately address the quality of life issues at the core of worker complaints. So, it is likely that the call for a strike will be renewed in the coming weeks or months.
When that happens, Congress needs to acknowledge worker complaints and honor their right to strike. Failing to do so could cause an exodus of railroad workers that would inflict catastrophic damage and hobble the system - for far longer than a strike to win concessions.
The conditions that railroad workers suffer are symptoms of systemic problems in the way US railroads are being run. Worker complaints and the complaints of shippers relate to Class 1 railroads' obsession with profit maximization at any cost. Dramatic workforce reductions, reductions in service and other cost cutting measures have made once sought-after careers some of the most undesirable and have rendered rail service chronically slow and unreliable.
One of the things we can do - in addition to standing up for workers' right to strike - is to tell Congress to pass legislation that starts to deal with the systemic problems plaguing our US rail system. Now is the time to mandate that railroads serve 21st Century public interests, not just profit maximization for shareholders.
An important action that Congress can take now, while we have a reprieve in the current conflict, is to pass H.R. 8649, the “Freight Rail Shipping Fair Market Act. This bill begins to return public scrutiny to railroad operations and service. It reasserts public interests in this critical national infrastructure. It is a way for Congress and the Administration to do their part to make careers on the railroad excellent and sought after, with conditions and compensation that retain and recruit skilled workers.
This is in everyone's interest: workers, communities, and the environment. We need railroad service to expand, not shrink. We need to restore reliable, affordable service to communities and US industry. We need working conditions that guarantee that rail workers are well rested as they drive these powerful trains - often laden with dangerous cargo - through our communities. We need investments in the long term sustainability and electrification of our rail system for it to be the climate solution it has the capacity to be.
Let's use the time we've been given to begin addressing these root problems. Let's communicate to railroad workers that we have their backs and that we appreciate they are sounding the alarm on a broken system. And let's take meaningful action to make sure railroad workers know that we are on the right track, committed to making their difficult jobs fulfilling and sustainable.
Solutionary Rail asks you to PLEASE stand with railroad workers and stand up for the public's interest by contacting your members of Congress and President Biden TODAY. The tool linked below makes it super easy.
Examples letters are HERE. Feel free to copy and paste from them - or from the text above.
Ready to Take Action?
- Click HERE to access a tool that connects you with your Congressional Representatives.
- Enter your address and zip code in the search bar; a list of your Congressional Representatives, President Biden and other elected officials will appear.
- Select the choice to reach out to Congress and President Biden
- Paste or type in your message into the tool (Sample Text is HERE.)
- Click Send. HERE's the Tool - Please take action now.