We recently read a pro union, pro railroad worker article on Maximillian Alvarez’s website about the recent railroad strike unions are presently dealing with. The December 7, 2022 article pulled together four railroad workers to comment on their perspectives about how Congress handled the dispute and how Wall Street’s influence is having an impact on American railroads, railroad unions, shipping and the American economy in general.
Background: After three years of stalled negotiations and labor disputes between America’s freight railroad carriers and rail unions, President Joe Biden (who claims to be the most pro-union president) and Congress forced a deal on railroad union workers in order to “avert” a potentially economically impactful rail shutdown.
Alvarez’s article convened a panel of four railroad employees to discuss the impact of the stalled settlements, the union-carrier conflicts, the workers’ demands and the Congressional actions on the industry and on workers. The interview was pulled from Alvarez’s admittedly pro-union podcast: Working People, a podcast about the lives, jobs, dreams, and struggles of the working class today.
The transcript of the podcast does not mince words, and at times the true emotion of the way corporate boardroom decisions can impact the safety and lives of working people comes through.
Alvarez begins the discussion by beginning with the words of President Biden as he called on Congress to end the stalemate, citing that a railroad strike at this time would have a devastating effect on the economy – which it likely would have. However, Biden also promised that “before it’s all over” he would work to secure the paid sick leave by working to make Republicans “see the light.” In other words, the article is not recommending rail workers hold their breath until they receive paid sick days or greatly improved working conditions.
In the ensuing interview, the various commentators expressed frustration with the railroads’ corporate leadership and with the Biden administration for imposing the contract to avoid a rail strike. Frustration was expressed aimed at the two-party system in which neither party seemed to have the backs of union workers.
One employee talked about the incompetence that was being not only tolerated but actually promoted and the frustration of a situation in which rail workers were told to attend a fellow worker’s funeral by Zoom rather than granting them personal days.
The panel expressed frustration over the impotence of the collective bargaining platform and how after several railroad unions voted to strike their decision was taken away from the people and handled by politicians whose allegiance is questioned repeatedly in the article.
The Sacrifices of Increase Automation
Which brings us to an issue that our law firm is concerned with and which has increasingly become a problem exacerbated by less knowledgeable people in authority positions making dangerous decisions and workers suffering injury and death as a result.
The panel cited many of the fallout issues related to the gradual weakening of their unions as leading to unsafe working conditions.
Brain Drain, lowering wages, increasing time “on-call”, inaccurate information being fed into automated systems such as one known as “Trip Optimizer” are all cited as causes for employee burnout and increases in dangerous scenarios.
The Final Word On the Railroad Strike That Never Happened
There is no doubt that American supply chains are integral to our standard of living and that often times, in the movement toward increased revenues, individuals who work had and often suffer injury and death to keep the trains moving are the ones who pay the price.
Through out years of tentative agreements, deferred contracts, lack of paid sick leave and other basic benefits, the individual rights of the railroad worker are probably at the weakest point they’ve ever been.
We Understand Railroad Injury Cases and the Laws Surrounding Them
Our legal team, at Kujawski & Associates, is familiar with the railroad industry, the Railway Labor Act and the federal laws that govern them. Our principal attorneys grew up in working-class families and have insight into the challenges railroad workers face. Again and again, we build strong cases and compelling arguments in railroad worker injury cases and railroad cases in general.
As the most effective FELA lawyer, St Clair County, IL and Madison County IL has to offer, if you are searching for FELA lawyers near me, you have found the best. Once we establish an attorney client relationship, you can count on our experienced FELA lawyers for knowledgeable guidance. Call us at: 618-622-3600 or Toll-Free 800-624-4571