Railroad union workers bash Biden ahead of Congressional vote

President Biden is feeling the heat from railroad workers unions as Congress prepares to vote on ways to prevent a crippling strike ahead of next week’s deadline.

Union leadership blasted Biden after he pressed Congress to force the organized labor groups to accept a tentative agreement in order to avert a strike, according to the New York Post.

Railroad Workers United issued a press release quoting Treasurer Hugh Sawyer saying “Joe Biden blew it.”

Sawyer claimed that Biden could have proven that he was labor-friendly by asking Congress for legislation to end the threat of a national strike on terms more favorable to workers. 

BIDEN’S PUSH TO AVERT NATIONAL RAIL STRIKE FACES OPPOSITION BY PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRATS

A BNSF train pulls out of yard

A BNSF Railway terminal worker monitors the departure of a freight train in Galesburg, Illinois. (AP Photo/Shafkat Anowar, File / AP Newsroom)

“Sadly, he could not bring himself to advocate for a lousy handful of sick days,” said Sawyer. “The Democrats and Republicans are both pawns of big business and the corporations.”

Four out of twelve unions representing rail workers have refused to ratify a tentative agreement negotiated in September with the help of the Biden administration. 

The House plans to vote on legislation implementing the September agreement on Wednesday. 

The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division, the third-largest rail union in the US, said in a statement Tuesday that it was “deeply disappointed” with Biden’s decision to appeal to Congress to force an agreement.

A Norfolk Southern train

Norfolk Southern locomotives are moved in the Conway Terminal in Conway, Pa. ((AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) / AP Newsroom)

BUSINESS GROUPS URGE CONGRESS TO TAKE ‘IMMEDIATE’ ACTION TO AVERT RAIL STRIKE

“It is not enough to ‘share workers’ concerns,’” the union representing about 23,000 railroad maintenance workers said in a statement. “A call to Congress to act immediately to pass legislation that adopts tentative agreements that exclude paid sick leave ignores the railroad workers’ concerns.”

The agreement would give workers 24% raises and $5,000 in bonuses retroactive to 2020 and an additional day of paid leave per year, as well as unpaid time off for doctor’s appointments and medical procedures, among other provisions.

BNSF rail yard train

A worker boards a locomotive at a BNSF rail yard in Kansas City, Kan.  ((AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) / AP Newsroom)

Congress can force train workers off the picket line by passing legislation with the terms of the provisional agreement.

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The Association of American Railroads estimates that a strike could cost the US economy more than $2 billion per day in lost output.

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