IAM Special Assistant to the International President for the Rail Division Josh Hartford and TCU/IAM Assistant National Legislative Director David Arouca, along with representatives from other major rail unions, joined U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Mike Braun (R-IN) for a press conference on Capitol Hill demanding paid sick time from rail companies for all rail workers.
“We are here to send a strong message to the CEOs in the rail industry,” said Sanders. “The American people are sick and tired of the type of corporate greed we are seeing in that industry… That industry can and must guarantee at least seven paid sick days for every rail worker in America.”
The press conference comes as rail companies announced record-breaking earnings during quarterly earnings reports and spent more on returns to the companies’ shareholders than what they spent on improving their workers’ wages and benefits.
“If you want to make life easy in the long run, make sure you take care of your employees,” said Braun. “You should not have to scrap for sick days the way we all know it.”
The press conference included the participation of SMART-TD, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees, the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department and the National Association of Chemical Distributors.
“We applaud Sen. Sanders and Sen. Braun for their steadfast commitment advocating for our members and all rail workers,” said Hartford. “Paid sick time is common sense and not a partisan issue. Rail workers shouldn’t have to choose between their jobs and their health, and our union welcomes any legislative efforts that will address rail workers’ needs.”
Prior to the press conference, Senator Sanders sent a letter to the rail companies’ CEOs requesting that they guarantee at least seven paid sick days for their employees.
Thanks to the continued pressure of the IAM Rail Division and its allies, both IAM District 19 and the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen, a division of TCU/IAM, have recently reached agreements with CSX to provide paid sick leave to hundreds of IAM and TCU/IAM members.
READ: CSX railroad promises paid sick time to two more unions Associated Press
The IAM Rail Division will continue to fight to provide paid sick leave to all rail workers.