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NNCLC Adopts Resolution In Support of Railworkers & Publicly Owned Railroads

Wendy Colborne
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Sparks, Nevada - At the February 9, 2023 meeting of the Northern Nevada Central Labor Council, the body voted to adopt the following resolution in support of our country's railworkers and in support of public ownership of the railroads.

Whereas, Class One rail carriers have made record profits, through the “Great Recession,” the pandemic, and otherwise, right up to the most recent Quarterly financial announcements; and 

Whereas, while striking is hard on workers, it is a powerful weapon of last resort when workers face off against greedy, unscrupulous companies and their benefactors of Wall Street finance capital; and 

Whereas, on December 1, Congress, at the urging of the White House and with bipartisan action, attacked and undermined the entire labor movement and the right to strike by imposing a “tentative agreement (TA)” on the country’s unionized Class 1 railroad workers; and 

Whereas, members of four of the 12 rail unions, representing the majority of 100,000 railroad workers, had already democratically voted to reject the TA and were ready to begin strike action on December 9; and 

Whereas, the Biden Administration and the majority of the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives and Senate failed the test by imposing a TA rejected by workers and without legislating paid sick time and fair scheduling; and 

Whereas, with great sacrifice, railroad workers, like so many essential workers, served the country keeping goods flowing through this pandemic; and 

Whereas, these same workers have little control over work scheduling and are essentially on call 24/7; and 

Whereas, railroad workers do not receive a single paid sick day and often face adverse consequences and discipline when they are off for sickness or to care for sick family members; and 

Whereas, these quality-of-life issues of fair scheduling and paid sick leave were the core of the dispute between the unionized workers and management; and 

Whereas, the TA failed to address these crucial issues, the majority of workers rejected it; and 

Whereas, Wall Street-funded billionaires running the rail industry cut 45,000 jobs over the last six years, 30% of the workforce, creating massive and chronic short staffing, while raking in $21 billion in profits so far this year; and

Whereas, profitable railroads refused the workers’ just demands and Congress came down on the side of the bosses and corporate greed and became strike breakers; and 

Whereas, Congress “justified” their anti-union actions by claiming that it was in the “national interest” to stop a rail strike. If they truly care for the national interests rather than the massive private profits and greed of Wall Street and the rail owners; and 

Whereas, It is unconscionable for any workers to have so little control over work schedules and receive no paid sick leave; and 

Whereas, as evidenced by the recent Ohio derailment which resulted in explosions and evacuations of nearby residents, national rail carriers have shown a willful disregard of public safety of communities; and

Therefore, be it resolved that Congress should seriously consider nationalizing the railroads and running the essential rail network of our country and afford full collective bargaining rights for the workers; and 

Be it further resolved that the Northern Nevada Central Labor Council stands  with the railroad workers and all workers seeking equity and justice; and 

Be it finally resolved that the Northern Nevada Central Labor Council urges all labor unions, environmental and community groups, social justice organizations, rail advocacy groups and others to push for a modern publicly owned rail system, one that serves the nation’s passengers, shippers, communities, and citizens.