From today’s NPR News:
Matthew Weaver was excited earlier this week — even optimistic — as he and a coworker hung drywall at a rail yard in Lordstown, Ohio.
The House of Representatives had just voted on a resolution to give freight rail workers seven days of paid sick leave — something Weaver’s union had been fighting for in recent months.
But as the hours passed and the legislation moved onto the Senate, Weaver’s doubts grew. Sure enough, the measure failed in the Senate.
So on Friday morning, after three years of failed negotiations, President Biden instead signed into law a measure that imposes the contract agreement brokered by his administration back in September, a deal that gives workers a 24% raise over five years, caps on health care premiums, and one additional personal day, but no paid sick days.
“It’s very frustrating,” says Weaver, a railroad carpenter since 1994. “Here is America’s essential workers — rail workers. We have no paid sick days. It’s disgusting.”
Four of the 12 freight rail unions, collectively representing more than half of the 115,000 freight rail workers covered by the deal, had voted down the agreement, citing the lack of paid sick days as a primary reason.
Workers who voted no say they are frustrated and disappointed — especially with President Biden, who on Monday called on Congress to pass legislation to adopt the tentative agreement with no modifications in order to avoid a crippling rail strike.
Read the complete story here.