Credit where credit is due. Uncle Joe plays the long game, and he does not for forget.
One more answer to the age-old question: “But what has he done for us lately?”
Remember when Biden headed off a railroad strike by backing a contract that not all railroad workers liked, and said he would not stop pushing for the paid sick leave they wanted? This statement is worth reading. 👇 https://t.co/gvGyiifh5Z
— Heather Cox Richardson (TDPR) (@HC_Richardson) June 23, 2023
h/t Uncle Eb in the morning thread
(bolding mine because I know you guys will never read the whole block quote)
After months of negotiations, the IBEW’s Railroad members at four of the largest U.S. freight carriers finally have what they’ve long sought but that many working people take for granted: paid sick days.
This is a big deal, said Railroad Department Director Al Russo, because the paid-sick-days issue, which nearly caused a nationwide shutdown of freight rail just before Christmas, had consistently been rejected by the carriers. It was not part of last December’s congressionally implemented update of the national collective bargaining agreement between the freight lines and the IBEW and 11 other railroad-related unions.
“We’re thankful that the Biden administration played the long game on sick days and stuck with us for months after Congress imposed our updated national agreement,” Russo said. “Without making a big show of it, Joe Biden and members of his administration in the Transportation and Labor departments have been working continuously to get guaranteed paid sick days for all railroad workers.
“We know that many of our members weren’t happy with our original agreement,” Russo said, “but through it all, we had faith that our friends in the White House and Congress would keep up the pressure on our railroad employers to get us the sick day benefits we deserve. Until we negotiated these new individual agreements with these carriers, an IBEW member who called out sick was not compensated.”
While President Joe Biden was calling on Congress in November to pass legislation to implement the agreement, he stressed that he would continue to encourage the railroads to guarantee paid sick time for their employees.
“I share workers’ concern about the inability to take leave to recover from illness or care for a sick family member,” Biden said. “I have pressed legislation and proposals to advance the cause of paid leave in my two years in office and will continue to do so.”
That pressure, plus the IBEW’s ongoing efforts, is paying off at last. The IBEW and BNSF Railway reached an agreement April 20 to grant members four short-notice, paid sick days, with the ability to also convert up to three personal days to sick days. The union reached similar understandings with CSX and Union Pacific on March 22, and with Norfolk Southern on March 10. Unused sick time at the end of a year can be paid out or rolled into a worker’s 401(k) retirement account.