The U.S. House has just given its nod to a bill that blocks rail strikes and also mandates paid sick leave to the railway staff. The voting stood at 290 to 137 from the legal aisle to bring into force a contract that was afloat in September.
It is a known fact that any sort of disruption in railway operations can impact the movement of people and goods across the US. The impact can start rearing its ugly head by December 9 onwards.
Additionally, the house votes reached a consensus of 221 to 207, which aimed at providing at least seven days of paid sick leave to railway employees. However, the fate of this decision is still not clear in the Senate.
Bad Working Conditions For Railway Employees
According to recent reports, railway employees seem to be working in inhumane conditions. Moreover, they also do not have any paid sick leaves.
The situation seems to be pretty one-sided, and that has caused quite an outcry from several circuits. Some Democrats and Republicans have expressed concern over these systems.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that everyone had the right to paid sick leaves. But many railroad workers seem to be skeptical about taking leaves, and working when sick, due to ambiguity in policies. It is a violation of basic human rights, per se.
For quite some time, such boiling issues have been swept under the cover, but not anymore. After communications about a supposed railroad strike emerged things seemed to have got serious. Now, it is amongst the top agendas for the Senate.
A rail strike could freeze numerous operations and the movement of people, who work as daily laborers. It has the power to stall almost 30% of US cargo shipments. As inflation runs high in the US, it could probably lead to a downfall of the economy. Thus, Biden has called on the Senate to take immediate action on this.
Is The Shutdown This Weekend Likely?
There is still no certainty regarding the demands of the railway or railroad workers. Thus, the aggrieved party has already started halting operations in phases, it seems. The movement of critical goods, like chemicals that are used to purify drinking water, is the first to be hit. The railways and one of the influential business groups are against the one-sided modification to the labor agreement.
Biden has admired the contract that has been proposed lately. It supposedly includes a 24% pay increase after intervals of five years and five yearly payments of $1,000. Biden has requested Congress to enforce the labor agreement, without any more modifications. Of late, the unions had asked for 15 days of paid leaves, but the authorities approved just one. According to the president, all the issues have probably risen, as the railways have not provided any protection to the workers. None of the parties seem to be moving in any direction, regarding the amendments.
Almost eight out of the twelve unions, who had brought up the matter, have given their go-ahead. However, the others do not seem to be in acceptance mode. It goes without saying that they are at loggerheads with the ones who have accepted the older version of the deal, minus the paid sick leaves. The original contract covers at least 115,000 workers who work in CSX, Norfolk Southern Corp, Union Pacific, Berkshire Hathaway Inc S BNSF, and Kansas City Southern.
The transportation and labor secretaries are eager to speak to the Senate officials for further development on the matter. However, as of date, nothing is certain. The bill may have to be reworked again to affect all involved positively.
I've been writing about LGBTQ issues for more than a decade as a journalist and content writer. I write about things that you care about. LGBTQ+ issues and intersectional topics, such as harmful stories about gender, sexuality, and other identities on the margins of society, I also write about mental health, social justice, and other things. I identify as queer, I'm asexual, I have HIV, and I just became a parent.