US Railroad Unions Try to Stop Railroad Workers Calling for Strike After Federal Intervention Favored Employers

Hundreds of railroaders have contacted the WSWS with their thoughts on the ruling of the Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) and the possibility of a strike. Add your voice to theirs! Contact us by filling out the form at the end of this article. All comments will remain anonymous.

A Norfolk Southern freight train passes through Homestead, Pa., on April 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

Since the release of the Presidential Emergency Board’s recommendations for a national contract for 100,000 American railroad workers, the railroad unions have been in full damage control mode.

The unions are trying to contain and suppress overwhelming opposition from members to the Biden-appointed board’s proposals for a five-year deal, which include below-inflation wage increases, removal of caps on individual health care contributions and no change to the punitive care policies that have driven tens of thousands of people out of the industry.

Support is growing for a national strike that could legally start as soon as September 15. One railroad worker wrote to the WSWS: “The unions are a joke, and through the PEB, the Democratic majority in Congress and the president have insulted the workers after winning office in the last election on the union vote.”

He concluded: “What is needed is a strike by all railway workers. Carriers can’t hire anyone now, who will stay? Carriers are already hurting America by not moving cargo because they don’t have the crews. Compensation for the sacrifice and work that the workforce does is a travesty, as evidenced by failures in hiring. The PEB recommendation is even more of a travesty. STRIKE.’

Another wrote: “These greedy bastards are living large while we are missing out on special days with our families and sacrificing our comfort to make this railroad run with no days off and no sleep. There is a special place in hell for people like that. We deserve a nice raise and more, much more. To hell with them, let’s shut them down!”

Such a strike, or even the preparations for one, would quickly turn into a standoff between the railroad workers and Congress, which would almost certainly step in to try to block it. The Biden administration, the self-styled ‘most pro-union president in American history’, has made preventing supply chain work stoppages one of its top national priorities, which it has been carrying out with the help of the pro-corporate union bureaucracy.

US Railroad Unions Try to Stop Railroad Workers Calling for Strike After Federal Intervention Favored Employers