Solidarity Rally and Informational Picket for Rail Labor
DULUTH, Minn. – Rail workers in Duluth held an informational picket Tuesday for rail labor.
Conductors, engineers, and yard masters from various class-one railroads in town say they aren’t 100 percent pleased with the contract recently imposed by congress.
Rather than the seven paid sick days rail workers had asked for, they say the contract only allows for one. There is still an avenue to adjust this contract through executive order, as U-S Senator Bernie Sanders wrote a letter to President Biden that is backed by 70 of his congressional colleagues, urging to extend the contract to seven paid sick days.
“Right now, we’re really hoping for this executive action, but also another fight we have is crew size. We’ve had two people on freight trains for years and years and years. We were cut from five down to two. We know that we can’t go below two,” SMART Transportation Division MN Legislative Director, Nick Katich says.
Wednesday, the Federal Railroad Administration is holding a public hearing that will help inform the decision on crew size. Rail workers are hoping for a regulation that will mandate a certified conductor and engineer on every train.
Meanwhile a spokesperson for BNSF tells FOX 21 quote, “It’s unfortunate that a small number of employees have chosen to advocate against the contract that has been reached by their own unions and the railroads. The parties worked hard to come to this agreement that provides for 24% raise, lump sum payments, adjustments to healthcare premiums and additional leave time.”