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Rubio: Biden Leaves Rail Workers Behind

Dec 1, 2022 | Press Releases

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) released a statement after the Senate voted to impose a deal the rail workers previously rejected:

“By now everyone should realize nothing good happens when Congress gets involved in issues best left to the private sector. But our involvement in this debate was inevitable once the Biden Administration, freight rail companies, and labor leaders negotiated a deal rail workers themselves did not support. 

“One of the most confusing aspects of this debate is how the union members—some of the hardest-working men and women in the country—were left behind by their union bosses. 

“Negotiating with the Biden Administration and the companies, the bosses struck a deal that didn’t address the core concern of their members: paid sick days. Sure, there was the addition of one new personal day, as well as tweaks around the edges to the penalty system to allow a few days of unpaid leave for medical appointments—so long as they were scheduled 30 days in advance, and only on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday—but the deal underwhelmed and alienated the men and women doing the hard work. And so the rank-and-file of four of the 12 unions involved, including the largest, rejected it.

“Congress should have sent everyone back to the negotiating table, but instead it told rail workers to suck it up and be grateful. If we had to get involved, we should have worked to meet the demands of the workers instead of appeasing labor leaders and companies. Because the truth is that the companies risked a nationwide shutdown of freight rail because they wouldn’t give their workers any paid sick days.

“America’s freight rail industry is critical to our economic success, and there is no doubt that it has been a financial success recently, paying out about $200 billion in dividends and stock buybacks over the past 12 years. But financial success is not the sole measure of what is good for our nation. The industry cut nearly one-third of its employees over the past six years, even as demand surged. Workers worked more, had less time at home, and got punished for falling ill.

“As conservatives, we should believe in the dignity of work—that work isn’t just a way to make money, but is also a means to provide for our families, participate in our communities, and build a better nation. When workers are treated as little more than line items on a spreadsheet, they become indistinguishable from the freight cars they service.

“Our nation’s economic priorities have swung too far toward efficiency. As a result, we’ve become less resilient. We’ve seen that with supply chains, and we’re seeing it now with rail workers. The President, labor leaders, and rail companies should have done better by the men and women who keep our nation running every day. Asking Congress to intervene on their behalf against the workers was unjust and unfair—and it won’t go unnoticed by those who wake up tomorrow and go to work.”