Solidarity LTEs

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TAKE ACTION: (Step by step...)

  1. Copy the wording from below that you'd like to use - or write your own (Check out RWU for talking points.)
  2. Click HERE to access an easy tool that connects you with local papers.
  3. Enter your zip code in the search bar - a list of area publications will appear; check the boxes of where you'd like to submit your letter.
  4. Paste your letter in the tool and
  5. Click Send.

Below are Sample LTEs to draw from.  All support railroad workers and are 200 words or less (the limit for most papers' LTE section). Feel free to adjust and use your own wording.

TEMPLATE #1 - Worker Solidarity

I support railroad workers’ demands for safety, policies that support quality of life, paid sick days and affordable health care, and fair contracts. After years of railroad companies prioritizing short term profits at the expense of its workers, working conditions are at a breaking point:  

  • Railroad companies have aggressively cut back on crew size that is vital for adequate service, safety, and support, even as they increase train lengths to 1-2+ miles long. 
  • Railroad companies are dictating work schedules that make it impossible for workers to get sufficient rest. They have made it impossible for workers to attend to family and healthcare needs. Workers don’t have regular schedules and can be called to work with 2 hours notice .
  • Railroad companies have slashed compensation so much they are having trouble finding enough people to operate trains. They cannot hire and train enough employees to meet their needs because they have made railroad jobs so undesirable.

We all rely on railroad workers for safe transportation of goods. Now they need our support in turn.

TEMPLATE #2 - Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR)

If a railroad worker strike happens, it will be due to the misguided and corrupt priorities of Class 1 railroad owners and management. These publicly traded corporations have been captured by investors' obsession with profit maximization through lowering operating ratios - i.e. cutting costs and serving only the most profitable shippers. 

Class 1 railroads are doing less in order to increase short term profits for shareholders. The result has been record profits, despite deteriorating service. These corporations would rather slash and burn our commons - our nation’s railroad infrastructure - to make fast money for a few, than invest in the long term profitability and resilience of the system they are obligated to steward. They call their business model "Precision Scheduled Railroading," but it has nothing to do with precision or schedules. 

In addition to worker mistreatment and not meeting the needs of shippers, Precision Scheduled Railroading worsens supply chain issues and leads to more trucks on the highways, as well as increased air pollution, road wear and tear, congestion, and accidents.

It’s time for Class 1 railroads to shift priorities and invest in its workers, who are essential to this economy.

TEMPLATE #3 - Common Carrier Obligations

Our common cause with railroad workers is rooted in our shared aspirations for the future of railroads to provide clean, sustainable and reliable transportation in service of all. This includes honoring common carrier obligations to the US public as stewards of this critical national infrastructure that was created in partnership with the public to serve our common interests.

Railroads play a vital role in delivering solutions for 21st Century crises: getting carbon out of transportation, connecting clean renewable energy to the entire country, providing better freight and passenger service to urban and rural communities, and revitalizing rail corridor communities. 

But none of this is possible until railroad management starts treating workers as partners, and not as adversaries. It is time that Class 1 railroads adopt a vision that prioritizes long term growth and worker and public interests, over Wall Street's insatiable greed.

TEMPLATE #4 - Main Street vs Wall Street

We are witnessing a battle of paradigms:  on one side is greed and short time profits by the Class 1 rail companies, on the other is rail worker safety and well being. 

In the pursuit of ever greater profits, Class 1 rail companies have cut their workforce to the bone. They have cut back on service to the point where shippers have had to ask the government for emergency action. Instead of innovating and competing to grow their business, they have chosen to boost short-term profits through mergers and track abandonment, cannibalizing the industry. With ever longer trains, they have put trackside communities and train crews at risk as well as disrupted passenger service. With all this, they have been enjoying profits, putting shareholders ahead of everyone else.

It will not be enough to order workers back to work. It’s time to seriously reconsider how the rail industry is regulated given how vital it is to the economy and how it is failing workers, shippers, rail passengers, and trackside communities. Railroads are effectively a transportation monopoly – it’s time to give the public interest greater consideration in how they operate. 

This is about Main Street versus Wall Street.

TEMPLATE #5 - Railroads are a Climate Solution 

Rail is extremely energy efficient and could become a vital tool to address climate change, yet rail companies refuse to go after business that doesn’t promise high profit margins. The consequence is vast amounts of fossil fuels being burned on low mileage trucks, more highway congestion, and more air pollution. Better passenger rail could provide an alternative to air travel, an industry which is also showing signs of strain. Investments like the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill are a good start, but we could do more.

 Rail corridors electrified with clean energy from wind and solar power could decarbonize transportation. A national grid using rail corridors could make vast reserves of wind and solar power available to the entire country. We could create many new jobs and revitalize trackside communities with better rail service.

The Class 1 railroad companies are an obstacle to solutions.  It is time they recalibrate their business model for the benefit of workers, communities and a livable future.

  • Copy the wording you'd like to use - or write your own (Check out RWU for talking points.)
  • Click HERE to access a tool that connects you with local papers.
  • Enter your zipcode in the search bar - a list of area publications will appear; check the boxes of where you'd like to submit your letter.
  • Paste your letter in the tool and click Send.

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