Rail Workers Say That The Deal Won't Solve Their Concerns About Quality Of Life
Rail Workers Say That The Deal Won't Solve Their Concerns About Quality Of Life

Rail Workers Say That The Deal Won’t Solve Their Concerns About Quality Of Life

This past summer, BNSF railroad driver Justin Schaaf needed to take time off from work, but he had to choose between going to the dentist to get a cavity in one of his molars filled or going to a party celebrating his son’s seventh birthday. He decided to go with his son.

Schaaf explained his decision to attend his child’s birthday celebration by saying, “In the end, I chose to take the day off.” “Then when I am finally able to get into the dentist four, five, or six months later, the tooth is too bad to heal at that point, so I have to get the tooth pulled out,” the patient said. “I have to get the tooth pulled out.”

After a vote in Congress, this week to force a contract on railroad workers to avert the economic devastation that would accompany a train strike, workers on the railroad are concerned that they may still be required to make these kinds of compromises. Workers and the unions that represent them feel that the pact did not go far enough to address their complaints about their quality of life and did not include any more sick days.

Even though four of the 12 unions, which represent the majority of rail workers, decided to reject the agreements that union officials made in September, President Joe Biden signed a law on Friday to prevent a strike and force workers to accept the agreements that union leaders made in September. For weeks, several business organizations have been pressuring Vice President Biden to step in.

Schaaf is unsure as to whether or not the new contract will make it simpler for him to take another day off anytime during the next year to save money for the cost of having an artificial tooth placed in his mouth. “I would have never been in that scenario if I had the choice of taking a sick day,” he stated from his home in Glasgow, Montana, which is located in the state of Montana.

Schaaf stated that it was disheartening to see Congress move in to settle the contract disagreement before the strike deadline on the following Friday. However, she did not find it surprising. Because of the potential negative effects on the economy, lawmakers have made it a habit to step in and impose contracts whenever railroads and their unions are on the verge of going on strike. According to the United States Chamber of Commerce, this has happened 18 times since the passage of the 1926 Railway Labor Act.

As a result of the high number of companies that rely on railroads to transport their raw materials and finished goods, a strike in the railroad industry would have a devastating effect on the economy. Because so many passenger trains use tracks controlled by freight railroads, these disruptions would also affect the passenger railroad industry.

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The final agreements reached with rail workers cover five years and include pay hikes of 24% and bonuses totaling $5,000. However, worries over the lack of paid sick time and the rigorous schedules that, according to the unions, make it difficult for workers to ever take a day off dominated the discussions regarding the contract. According to the train unions, they were not successful in obtaining additional concessions from the railroad firms because the large companies were aware that Congress would intercede.

After three years of discussions, the train companies decided against including paid sick days in the agreement because they did not want to pay much more than what a special board of arbitrators that had been created by Biden advised this summer. In addition, the train companies claim that the unions have reached an agreement with them over the years to give up paid sick leave in exchange for greater earnings and robust short-term disability benefits that begin to take effect after as few as four days of being disabled.

If medical appointments are booked at least 30 days in advance, railroad companies have agreed to provide three unpaid days to train engineers and conductors so that they can attend to their health requirements. They also vowed to continue negotiations to improve the manner that regular days off are scheduled to assist workers in better understanding when they will be off work.

But according to Jeff Kurtz, who is now retired from the railroad after working there for eight years, there is still a lot of work to be done to restore the quality of life he had before he left the company. When he found out that his son was obtaining his doctorate just before Christmas in 2009, he was able to secure time off work for important family events on short notice. He doubts that rail workers today would be able to do the same.

“You’ve probably heard that if you hire out on the train, you’ll end up missing certain stuff. But you’re not supposed to lose out on everything,” said Kurtz, who stays engaged even when he retires as a member of the Railroad Workers United coalition, which brings together workers from every union. “It’s important not to lose out on your children’s formative years. You should make every effort not to miss the significant milestones in the lives of your loved ones.

As a result of an overhaul of their operations that has taken place over the past six years, the major railroads have removed roughly one-third of their positions, making the task more difficult for those who are still employed there. The unions have stated that they would continue to push for more paid sick leave, but it appears as though they will have to wait until discussions on the next contract, which is scheduled to begin in 2025.

The head of the Association of American Railroads trade group, Ian Jefferies, acknowledged that “there is more to be done to further address the concerns of our employees’ work-life balance.” However, he stated that the compromise deals that Congress voted to impose should help make schedules more predictable while also delivering the largest raises rail workers have seen in more than four decades.

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About Sam Houston 1811 Articles
Hello, I'm Sam Houston, and I'm proud to be a part of the journalistpr.com team as a content writer. My journey into journalism has been quite an exciting ride, and it all began with a background in content creation. My roots as a content writer have equipped me with the essential skills needed to craft engaging narratives and convey information effectively. This background proved invaluable when I decided to make the transition into journalism. The transition allowed me to channel my storytelling abilities into producing news articles that not only inform but also captivate our readers.

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