Latest News

ICYMI: Rubio: Biden’s Rail Debacle Signals Shakeup

Dec 5, 2022 | Press Releases

Biden’s Rail Debacle Signals Shakeup
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
December 3, 2022
American Conservative

Over the last few weeks, [freight rail] companies risked a nationwide shutdown…because they wouldn’t give their workers any paid sick days. That is despite earning tremendous profits and paying out about $200 billion in dividends and stock buybacks over the past 12 years….  

[O]ne of the most underreported elements of the entire debacle is what in the world the labor union bosses were thinking. When they cut a deal in September, they signed onto an agreement that didn’t address the core concern of their workforce: paid sick days…. It reveals the out-of-date and out-of-touch nature of our current collective bargaining system. Maybe, over time, it will prompt workers to seek alternative means of representation….

In the near term, though, it is increasingly clear that things are changing in American politics. Democrats voted overwhelmingly to ram the September agreement…down the throats of the workers…. The hardworking rail worker was left out in the cold [by them]….

My strong preference was to give the unions and the companies more time to negotiate a deal that would be acceptable to everyone…. In the end, I voted in favor of adding seven days of paid sick leave to the tentative agreement. I did so not because I think it is Congress’s place to insert itself into these negotiations, but because the rail industry asked us to insert ourselves. And in the rail industry, I saw echoes of problems I’ve seen across the economy.

Nearly four years ago, I wrote about the tradeoff between efficiency and resiliency…. While greater efficiency can bring positive things, including lower prices, it is also possible to have too much of a good thing. When workers are treated as little more than line items on a spreadsheet, they become no different from the freight cars they service or the track they monitor…. [And o]ne of the dirty little secrets of the freight rail industry is just how fragile it has become…. 

Congress should never have been involved in Biden’s rail debacle, but any time corporations bring something to the Senate floor, I am going to do what is right for our country and its workers, even if it means shaving off a fraction of Wall Street’s annual returns.

Read the rest here.