Bernie Sanders Blocks Proposal Which Would Avoid Rail Strike

Bernie Sanders speaking

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) blocked a Republican effort to require railroad employees and companies to accept recommendations of a nonpartisan panel in order to avoid a strike which, if it goes through, will impact millions of Americans.

The GOP resolution – introduced by Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Commission Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-NC) and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MI), would have required railroad workers to adopt the outlines of a labor deal, The Hill reports.

When the righteous [a]are in authority, the people rejoice;
But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.” Proverbs 29:2

According to the Vermont Senator, railroad companies are making ‘huge profits’ and should treat employees more fairly.

“The rail industry has seen huge profits in recent years and last year alone made a record breaking $20 billion in profit,” he said. “Last year the CEO of CSX made over $20 million in total compensation while the CEOs of Union Pacific and Norfolk Southern made over $40 million each in total compensation.”

Sanders contrasted that to freight rail workers who are “entitled to a grand total of zero sick days.”

According to GOP Senators, their resolution would have avoided a “disastrous” rail strike, which could bring rail travel and freight shipments grinding to a halt across the country.

Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Democrats were putting the economy at risk.

“If a strike occurs and paralyzes food, fertilizer and energy shipments nationwide, it will be because Democrats blocked this bill,” he tweeted.

The GOP plan would adopt resolutions from President Biden’s Presidential Emergency Board, which recommended a 24% wage increase, retroactive to 2020, as well as annual bonuses of $1,000 and additional paid leave.

“This is the president’s bipartisan emergency board that he set up that came back with a recommendation to the Biden Administration and said here is the solution to this. It should be adopted,” said Burr.

Wicker, meanwhile, said that “The last thing we need is a shutdown of this nation’s rail service, both passenger and freight. And yet, that is what we are facing in less than a day and a half from this moment, a massive rail strike that will virtually shut down our economy.”

According to a GOP aide who spoke with The HillSanders “wants a strike.”

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Update (1525ET):

So it begins: on Wednesday afternoon, Amtrak said it will cancel all long distance trains starting Thursday, September 15 “to avoid possible passenger disruptions while enroute” as White House-led talks between freight-rail companies and unions continued in a race to avoid a rail-system shutdown Friday.

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