Live updates

Live updates: SMART-TD union acknowledges that no final rail agreement exists, despite move to block strike

SMART-TD union acknowledges that no final rail agreement exists, despite move to block strike

Railroad workers: Tell us what you think about the White House deal. Contact us by filling out the form at the bottom of this page. Contact the Rail Workers Rank-and-File Committee at railwrfc@gmail.com.

SMART-TD, one of the two rail unions that announced an agreement with the Biden administration and rail companies to block strike action by 100,000 workers, acknowledged today that no final agreement actually exists.

“Since the announcement of the tentative agreement (TA) yesterday morning,” the SMART-TD statement said, “a number of posts purporting to reveal the finalized contents or finalized components of a TA have spread rapidly and are being presented as factual. They are not.”

The statement adds, “Anyone who states that they have seen a final copy of the TA, have a copy of the final TA or knows the final contents of the agreement is not being truthful.” The documents, it continues, “have not been fully reviewed by both parties’ legal counsel” and have not been presented “to the SMART-TD District 1 General Chairpersons, nor has it been distributed to officers or membership.”

Since the agreement was announced early Thursday morning, the unions, the Biden administration and Democratic Party politicians (from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to Senator Bernie Sanders) have been presenting the agreement as a major win for workers.

As it turns out, however, no final agreement actually exists. No one has read this supposed agreement, according to SMART-TED, even the union chairpersons and officers, let alone the media mouthpieces and politicians. Yet they are all trying desperately to sell it as a major victory for workers.

SMART-TD statement acknowledging that no final TA exists

The SMART-TD statement is clearly aimed at trying to counter the outpouring of anger among workers at the snippets of details released by the unions and White House. Even these self-serving “highlights” have been denounced by workers, and the union bureaucrats are nervous.

The union writes that “once the proper steps... have occurred, factual information will be released on the union website for members for them to evaluate and to carefully consider the tentative agreement.”

This will happen, they say, “sometime next week.”

It adds, “[P]lease do not draw conclusions on the information concerning this agreement from what is being circulated on social media until such time that it comes from our official sites.”

But if workers should not “draw conclusions” from information on social media, why should they “draw conclusions” about anything that the union is saying? Why should they accept that their strike was shut down based on a TA that does not exist?

SMART-TD’s statement is also carefully worded. The union states that once the “proper steps” are taken, “factual information will be released” on “our official sites.” It does not even state that workers will have access to the full, as yet non-existent, tentative agreement.

Workers should reject this anti-democratic fraud. The unions, working with the White House and the corporations, are seeking to pull wool over workers’ eyes and ram through a contract that meets none of their demands.

Democrats, praise “tentative agreement,” railroad workers say “absolute joke, laughable”

Anger among rank-and-file railroad workers continues to grow after the White House intervened this week to prevent 100,000 workers from exercising their democratic right to strike at the end of a legally mandated “cooling-off” period that was set to expire at 12:01 a.m. Friday morning.

In a Thursday morning address in the Rose Garden outside the White House, Biden, hailed the agreements, which no workers have yet to see in full and evaluate for themselves, as a “big win for America” and “a great deal for both sides.”

President Joe Biden, with Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, left, speaks about a tentative railway labor agreement in the Rose Garden of the White House, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022, in Washington. [AP Photo/Susan Walsh]

Speaking to Politico on the intervention by Biden in personally lobbying for the deal, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, said: “It’s one thing for everybody to know this is important; it’s another for the president to call and ask, in the name of the country and the economy, that everyone there do everything in their power to get this thing landed.”

When Buttigieg, a former naval intelligence operative, refers to the “country,” he is talking about the pivotal role the railroad network plays in “national security,” that is, in shipping weapons and war material. By “economy,” Buttigieg is referring to Wall Street profits and the fact that, unlike what the carriers argued to the Presidential Emergency Board, the working class is the source of all profits and produces all of society’s wealth.

While Democrats pat themselves on the back for, at the moment, preventing a strike with the assistance of the union apparatus, railroaders speaking to the World Socialist Web Site have denounced what “highlights” they have seen from the tentative agreement.

Chris, an employee in mechanical, said: “The SMART and BLET agreements are an absolute joke, laughable.” He added that he did not have as bad as a schedule as some, but added, “I don’t have a great schedule myself.”

From what he has seen, Chris said, his “main issue with the railroads’ agreement is health care premiums going way up. I used to work in another union. They pay exactly half the amount as rail workers for health care premiums, deductibles and co-pays. I have it right here, and I’m going to show it in the face of the top union officials and ask why we don’t have this.”

“It’s a bad deal. I want a strike,” Chris said. “At least half the people feel the way I expressed myself. I’m pushing forward organizing and doing the strike, but it takes everybody to pull that off.”

“This has become a story that will affect the whole world”

Speaking on a resolution that hundreds of railroad workers voted in favor of during a public meeting sponsored by the Railroad Workers Rank-and-File Committee (RWRFC) on Wednesday, Chris said he had “seen the resolution,” and “I will contribute to spreading the word. We need to educate people on how much power we have and how much we can actually get.

Despite the undemocratic maneuvers by the unions and their Democratic Party handlers, Chris said, “I’m still going to keep fighting. I appreciate you and the WSWS having our back. This has become a story that will affect the whole world. We are going to keep fighting as long as we have to. You have added rejuvenation to my fight.”

Railroaders looking to fight back are encouraged set up meetings with like-minded workers and establish rank-and-file committees. Contact the Rail Workers Rank-and-File Committee at railwrfc@gmail.com.

Democratic House Speaker Pelosi to rail workers: Accept a pro-company deal or we’ll force you to

Among those praising the tentative rail agreement, worked out in the middle of the night between Wednesday and Thursday, is House Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In a statement issued yesterday, Pelosi heaped praise on the Biden administration and “the representatives of the labor unions who wouldn’t leave the table without achieving justice for their workers.”

What “their workers” think of the “justice” that has been achieved at the table with Biden and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh is evident in the outpouring of anger at the deal worked out behind their backs.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference, Friday, April 29, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington. [AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin]

Pelosi, with a net worth of $135 million, is one of the richest individuals in a Congress composed largely of millionaires. When Pelosi declares that the agreement is “good for our economy,” she really means it is good for Wall Street. When she adds that it is good “for our security,” she means that blocking a strike of railroad workers is a necessary part of American war planning.

After her words about “justice for workers,” Pelosi proceeded to threaten workers that if they don’t accept this “justice,” then other measures will be necessary.

In her statement, Pelosi acknowledged that the Democrats would have sided with the carriers and barred any strike:

With hope for an agreement but concern for the challenges that a strike would present, Congress stood ready to take action. Congress under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution has the authority and responsibility to ensure the uninterrupted operation of essential transportation services and has in the past enacted legislation for such purposes. Led by the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the House prepared and had reviewed legislation, so that we would be ready to act, pursuant to Section 10 of the Railway Labor Act.

That is, Pelosi and the entire political establishment (Democrats and Republicans alike) stood ready to bar a strike and force through an agreement that workers rejected.

Lest anyone think that this threat applies only to the past, Pelosi added: “Thankfully this action may not be necessary. We congratulate the unions and railroads for coming to an agreement, because it is in the national interest that essential transportation services be maintained” (emphasis added).

The implications are clear enough. Accept this “justice,” Pelosi is declaring to workers, or else we’ll force you to.

Full article

CSX mechanic: “We have to have power over our own lives”

Railroad workers: Tell us what you think about the White House deal. Contact us by filling out the form at the bottom of this page. Contact the Rail Workers Rank-and-File Committee at railwrfc@gmail.com.

While the Democrats, media and union officials are heaping praise on the agreement announced by the White House Wednesday night to block a strike of 100,000 US railroad workers, workers continue to denounce it. No workers have actually seen the full agreement, if it even exists, but what they have seen they don’t like.

A worker rides a rail car at a BNSF rail crossing in Saginaw, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022. [AP Photo/LM Otero]

A CSX mechanic in Georgia told the WSWS Railroad Workers Newsletter, “Instead of letting us strike, the IAM [International Association of Machinists] signed an extension without us agreeing to it. It’s the same old stuff, year after year. They’re trying to shove this down our throats.”

Workers in the IAM voted down an agreement modeled on Biden’s Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) earlier this week, before Wednesday night’s announcement of a deal with two larger unions, the BLET and SMART-TD. The latter is also largely based on the PEB recommendations.

“The deal they got [Wednesday] does not address our way of living and these attendance points. Down here, if you go to the doctor and get a note, they still give you points.

“We have to have power over our own lives,” he continued. “They want us to accept whatever they say after laying so many workers off and forcing us to work. A lot has changed in the 20 years I’ve worked here. We used to have insurance with no costs, free work boots and safety bonuses. Now we’re paying out-of-pocket for medical insurance, and the new contract has no cap until after the expiration of the contract. It might be $500 a month by then.

“The unions must be taking kickbacks from the carriers. They aren’t for us. You can get a job outside a union now and get paid just as much, and not pay union dues. We ain’t getting nothing for what we pay.

“Every 5-6 years, they come back with a contract we don’t want and tell us, ‘This is the best you’re going get.’ We need to get together in these [rank-and-file] committees, and the more people we have the more power we have. When they say we can’t strike, we can say, ‘We will strike if we want to.’ It’s our bodies, it’s our labor.

“All the executives care about are their shareholders and their salaries. They say it’s not the workers who make the profits. Well, let’s see what happens to their profits if we stop working. We’ve worked through this pandemic, and workers died and got sick from Covid. We don’t know how much the companies got from the government, but they didn’t pass it on to us.”

While rail unions meet with Biden to avert strike, 500 railroaders attend meeting to organize rank-and-file opposition

With the specter of a national rail strike in the United States looming, two meetings took place on Wednesday night. The first, held in secret, behind closed doors in a Washington conference room, was between officials from the rail unions, the railroads and President Biden. The purpose of this marathon discussion, which lasted 20 hours and ended early Thursday morning, was to work out a concessions contract and avoid a strike.

The agreement reached yesterday is only a slight re-wording of the one proposed last month by Biden’s Presidential Emergency Board (PEB), which workers overwhelmingly oppose and were prepared to strike against. It added only a single paid and three unpaid sick days. Most importantly, from the standpoint of the conspirators in Washington, it extended the end of the “cooling off period” to block a strike.

The White House was determined to reach a deal before the deadline to spare congressional Democrats the optics of passing legislation to try to crush a strike only weeks before critical midterm elections. From the floor of the Senate, Bernie Sanders, who presents himself as a “democratic socialist,” played his assigned role in the conspiracy, blocking Republican-sponsored legislation to enforce Biden’s PEB. Sanders, who voted in 1991 with a huge bipartisan majority to break the last national rail strike, was maneuvering to buy time, while bolstering the credibility of Biden and the Democrats and concealing the bipartisan unity against railroaders.

Sanders rushed immediately to declare the “real progress” contained in the sellout deal. Meanwhile, House speaker Nancy Pelosi admitted Thursday that Democrats had already prepared legislation in advance to illegalize the strike if it began.

The new tentative agreement is, in reality, an injunction in all but name, enforced through the screen of the unions.

The American political establishment never tires of claiming that all of its wars abroad are waged in the name of human rights and democracy. Yet in the United States, as far as it is concerned, the right to strike, the most basic right available to workers, does not exist. This is one thing they have in common with all dictatorships. Indeed, Biden bragged on Twitter Thursday that the “trains were running on time,” a phrase commonly associated with Mussolini’s fascist Italy and its brutal and bloody suppression of working class opposition, including of railroad workers.

In addition to Congress, the use of police and the courts, one of the principal means through which the right to strike is negated is through the trade union bureaucracy. The unions, completely integrated with management and the state, have for decades worked to block or isolate strikes and enforce one sellout after another. Biden, the self-described most “pro-labor president in American history,” is seeking to rely upon and greatly expand on those corrupt relations that already exist. The latest White House–brokered sellout on the railroads follows similar maneuvers with the unions against dock and refinery workers earlier this year.

But the period in which all of this could have gone unchallenged is over. The working class is beginning to move into struggle all over the world. Every one of these struggles has tended to develop into a rebellion against both the union apparatus and the capitalist state. The highest organizational and strategic expression of this is the rapid growth of rank-and-file committees all over the world.

The second meeting that took place on Wednesday night was a major milestone in this growing rank-and-file opposition. This was an online meeting of over 500 rank-and-file railroaders and their supporters, sponsored by the Railroad Workers Rank-and-File Committee (RWRFC), the World Socialist Web Site and the International Workers Alliance of Rank-and-File Committees. It was a democratic, open discussion, involving broad regional representation from workers across all major crafts and from all national railroads.

The remarks at the meeting expressed the visceral hatred that workers feel toward their conditions of exploitation and the union bureaucracy. Mark, a machinist and founding member of the RWRFC, said, “For contract after contract, we’ve taken concessions in pay and benefits. We risk our health and our lives every single day. Our families have to make sacrifices that most families don’t endure: rescheduling holidays, birthdays, family gatherings, funerals, etc.

“These are all reasons why I joined the rank-and-file committee. To get organized, to ensure our democratic right to vote—and have those votes honored, not determined by 60 people in the Senate hell-bent on stripping those rights away—abolishing the Railway Labor Act that cripples our right to strike, getting rid of the bureaucracy and the union apparatus, and bringing the power back to the rank and file.”

He ended by calling on workers to join the committee to form a “united front” against “the corrupt relationship between the government, the railroad carriers and the top officials of the unions.” He concluded, “These are unprecedented times that call for action.”

Raoul, an engineer from Chicago, said, “I’m tired of being treated like a peasant.” While the railroads cynically warned about the economic impact of a strike, Raoul responded that the railroads “brought this mess on themselves” by eliminating tens of thousands of jobs. The US railroad network, he said, was built with workers’ labor, including from “immigrants, slaves and the Chinese... Workers contributed to the success and prosperity of this country, but we don’t get the credit for it.”

The wife of a railroader spoke to the role of the Internet in undermining the control of the bureaucracy and empowering the rank-and-file. “We live in an age where information is instant... I believe that is the key difference in what is happening right now,” she explained. “When the PEB released its recommendations, everybody instantly had it and read it before the unions could even get ahead of it and make a statement … that gives us more power than we’ve ever had. The Internet is a beast that they can’t control. They’re not going to have the control that they’ve had previously.”

Will Lehman, a Mack Trucks worker running for president of the United Auto Workers on a platform of abolishing the union bureaucracy and fighting for rank-and-file control, also spoke to the meeting. Lehman, a socialist, encouraged workers to understand the connection between their struggle and the fight for socialism, which he defined as “power in the hands of the workers, of how we distribute the wealth we generate, with a sense of equality, and not have a few people gorge themselves on this wealth.” He also shared his own experiences founding a rank-and-file committee at Mack Trucks in order to support the Volvo Trucks strike in 2021.

At the close of the meeting, attendees voted overwhelmingly to pass a resolution expressing the sentiment of railroaders, which reads:

This democratic assembly of rank-and-file railroad workers resolves:

1. We will not accept any act by Congress that violates our democratic right to strike and imposes upon us a contract that we do not accept and has not been ratified by the rank and file.

2. We demand a contract that addresses our needs, including a major pay increase to make up for years of declining wages; cost-of-living adjustments to meet soaring inflation; an end to brutal attendance policies; guaranteed time off and sick days; and an end to the push for one-man crews.

3. We inform the unions that any attempt to force through contracts that we do not accept and that have not been voted on, or to keep us working without a contract, will be in violation of clear instructions given by the rank and file.

David North, the chairman of the Socialist Equality Party and of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site, spoke to workers about the significance of their meeting.

“Everyone who has spoken has pointed in one way or another to the fact that these organizations don’t represent you. You have no control over what they do,” he said. “So when we’re speaking of rank-and-file committees, what we’re actually talking about is, how do we create a means by which workers themselves can assert their power?”

He compared the rank-and-file committees to the Committees of Correspondence founded by the colonists in the American Revolution: “Out of this there emerged the Continental Congress, which was a new form of organization, to bring together people living across a vast territory to organize their resistance to the power of the Crown, so that they could inform themselves and formulate their own policy.”

“You have huge power if you know how to use it,” he concluded, “but what you first of all have to do is, in every work location, set up an alternative structure so that when you get the word that you’ve been sold out, that’s not the end of the story.” You must create the means to “overrule, counteract, countermand the decision of apparatchiks who are serving your enemies.”

North warned that as the meeting was being held, the unions, corporations and the state were conspiring to block a strike and force through a pro-company agreement. These warnings were confirmed within hours, when Biden announced his brokered agreement.

The meeting, and the resolution that it passed, provide a powerful basis for the development of this fight for alternative leadership. This must now be carried forward by railroaders by developing the committees at every yard and terminal, holding meetings to reject the Biden-brokered sellout, share information and elect rank-and-file leaders to assume responsibility for the decision-making process.

Railroad workers: Tell us what you think about the White House deal. Contact us by filling out the form at the bottom of this page. Contact the Rail Workers Rank-and-File Committee at railwrfc@gmail.com.

Full article

Worker at meeting of Rail Workers Rank-and-File Committee: We must bring power back to the rank and file

A rail worker from St. Louis delivered the following remarks at the meeting of the Rail Workers Rank-and-File Committee Wednesday, which was attended by more than 500 workers

I come to you today as one of the RFC members to call on everyone to join the committee. This committee was formed by railroaders of all crafts across the nation. I became a member because I share the same sentiment of distrust in the railroads and the union apparatus that you all have. Our union leaders wanted us to believe that we were stronger than ever and had the perfect scenario to obtain the best contract, because we all had remained unified across 12 unions, and because Congress and the President were the most labor-friendly that we’d seen in modern history.

They told us that requesting to be released from mediation, in a historically short fashion, would reward us with a labor-friendly PEB [Presidential Emergency Board, set up by the Biden administration]. After about 30 days, the recommendation was released by the PEB, and it quickly became evident that their claim couldn’t have been further from the truth. Immediately, the tentative agreement was all over social media, and the word spread like wildfire before the unions had announced anything official. Union reps were contacted. Emails were sent to Congress telling them how this recommendation was a subpar contract that doesn’t come close to inflation, or a fair share of profits. No sick days, no shift differentials. It didn’t even bother to recommend anything on the draconian attendance policies. And to top it all off, an increase in the cost of healthcare premiums.

What did we get? Nothing. The union reps accepted it anyway without our approval. After being deemed “essential” when convenient during a global pandemic, I lost workmates and friends. Workers lost loved ones. We were put into a situation where we were exposing each other and our families to this deadly virus. People were denied using vacation days if they had to quarantine, a quarantine which was demanded by the companies. All while record profits were being made by the fat cat CEOs. We were never compensated with a bonus or hazard pay, like so many workers in other industries.

Today we got the news that the machinists’ union voted no on the tentative agreement and yes to the strike. However, the District 19 president included in his notification that “out of respect for the other unions we will postpone our strike until the 29th of September,” once again making a unilateral decision that the workers had not agreed upon.

We voted to strike. We voted to strike at 12:01 a.m. on the 16th of September, the end of the cooling off period. For contract after contract, we’ve taken concessions in pay and benefits. We risk our health and our lives every single day. Our families have to make sacrifices that most families don’t endure: rescheduling holidays, birthdays, family gatherings, funerals, etc. These are all reasons why I joined the rank-and-file committee. To get organized, to ensure our democratic right to vote—and have those votes honored, not determined by 60 people in the Senate hell-bent on stripping those rights away—abolishing the RLA [Railway Labor Act] that cripples our right to strike, getting rid of the bureaucracy and the union apparatus, and bringing the power back to the rank and file.

Brothers and sisters, I call on every one of you: Please, join us in solidarity, in this united front, in opposition to the corrupt relationship between the government, the railroad carriers and the top officials of the unions.

In history, labor was victorious when workers found it in themselves to get organized, put their differences aside and stand and fight together as one united front. The time has come for us to do the same. These are unprecedented times that call for action. Stay vigilant, and unwavered by the demands of Congress. Do everything you can to spread this message of unity and strength. Because when we unite as one, there isn’t anything that can stand in our way.

Share the full statement on social media

Contact the Rail Workers Rank-and-File Committee at railwrfc@gmail.com.

Railroad workers livid over deal brokered by Biden and unions to prevent strike

Railroad workers: Tell us what you think about the White House deal. Contact us by filling out the form at the bottom of this page. All submissions will be kept anonymous. Contact the Rail Workers Rank-and-File Committee at railwrfc@gmail.com.

Railroad workers have reacted with disgust and anger to a last-minute deal brokered by the Biden administration between the unions and railway carriers to prevent a strike by more than 100,000 workers at 12:01 am Friday. The tentative agreement is fundamentally the same as the pro-company deal recommended last month by Biden’s Presidential Emergency Board (PEB), which retains the punitive attendance policies and includes below-inflation rate raises and other concessions.

“Read the proposal, it’s the same as the PEB,” a BNSF engineer in Washington State told the WSWS. “The union did this. They caved at the 11th hour. Even medical goes up. It’s only frozen after the contract ends. So, during the next dispute it doesn’t keep growing. It’s well past time to rid ourselves of the corporate unions. Thankfully they never fail at giving us reasons why. It’s time to move forward together, the other crafts, the other industries, the other workers. We make things function not Wall Street. They need to be reminded.”

A BNSF track worker in Kansas City told the WSWS, “This is basically the same as the PEB, with a few numbers changed. They say there is an up-front 14 percent raise, but that’s basically for the last three years. Health care costs are supposed to remain the same, but we haven’t seen the details. The attendance policies are still in there.

“The media makes it sound like we are getting a 24 percent raise. If that was for one year, ok, we’d take it. But it is over five years. This contract is no good. We need sick days, PPHs or something else to get time off for events beyond vacations. Engineers and conductors don’t have time off, signalmen are on call except for 12 hours a week. This agreement doesn’t change things in real world.

“We have a ‘pro-union’ president, a secretary of labor from the unions. They should have said to the railroad, ‘Give them what they asked for.’ But that didn’t happen. It doesn’t matter whether it is the Democrats or Republicans, they’re not for us.”

Loading Tweet ...
Tweet not loading? See it directly on Twitter

Commenting on the meeting of the Rail Workers Rank-and-File Committee attended by hundreds of workers on Wednesday night, the worker continued, “The rank-and-file committee is a good thing. We need to keep each other informed, across multiple crafts and unions. Direct engagement will give us more power. This contract affects us drastically. It will determine our livelihoods and could even lead to us getting killed. The union, the companies and the president agreed to this contract. Now our voice and our words needs to be heard.”

Workers in unions that previously agreed to the tentative agreements based on the PEB also spoke out. A CSX locomotive mechanic from Tennessee spoke about the agreement reached by the International Association of Machinists (IAM) earlier in the week. “We voted against the contract and to strike. But the Machinists union agreed to extend the contract to September 29. They never asked us, they just did it. Everyone is down for a strike even if it means defying Congress. It would take a lot of risk, but people want to strike. They just want to know how to organize it. Before today, the deadline was the 16th, and the IAM just made up the extension to the 29th.

“They negotiated away our right to strike without asking us. At some point, this has got to come to a head, and you say this is the day we walk out. Our union is horrible, and they showed it again. Every time, they push us back more and more. A few weeks ago, they were running around saying this was the best deal, and we should vote ‘yes.’ The union has been working with the companies for years. The Railway Labor Act gives the railroads no reason to negotiate. They expect Congress to make us work. There are no repercussions if the railroads refuse to negotiate.

“How is Biden the most ‘pro-union president’? If he cared, he would force the railroads to give us what we need. He’s for the union tops, not for us. The unions are working for the company and against us.'

Read full article

Biden tells Wall Street he is following their orders

At noon on Thursday, US President Joe Biden tweeted a photo of an editorial board statement of the Wall Street Journal published earlier in the day that demanded the Biden administration launch a brutal crackdown on the struggle of rail workers and intervene to prevent workers from winning any of their demands.

The Journal is a mouthpiece of the banks and corporations. Its editorial board consists of representatives of many of the major industrial sectors in the country. The editorial board statement demanded that Democrats side “with the US economy that needs the trains to run on time.”

Biden’s tweet read, “Thanks for your concern, Wall Street Journal. To answer your question: yes, the trains are running on time.”

Loading Tweet ...
Tweet not loading? See it directly on Twitter

Biden’s cynicism aside, the tweet is an acknowledgment that Biden is, in fact, doing exactly what Wall Street has asked of him, and the Democratic Party is following suit. The reference by both the Journal and Biden to “keeping the trains running on time” is to the claim by fascist supporters of Italian dictator and Hitler-ally Benito Mussolini, who praised Mussolini for using physical violence to crush workers strikes—including by Italian rail workers—and keep profits flowing to the corporations.

Veteran UK rail worker speaks on British and US rail struggles: “If the US railroad workers take action it will have an impact on the working class everywhere”

The World Socialist Web Site interviewed a rail worker of more than three decades on the ongoing national strikes in Britain and the struggle of railroad workers in the United States.

He told our reporter, “We send solidarity and urge a joint struggle against these global railway companies. That’s the only way forward. To be able to organise such an international struggle, it’s necessary to organise independently of the trade union in both countries who are doing everything they can to delay and sabotage the struggles.

“The trade unions in the UK used the death of the queen to call off strikes for an extended period. The majority of rail workers are very angry about this decision. It’s the same kind of thing that the trade unions on the railways in the United States are doing by appealing to the railroad companies and state forces to try and head off a strike.”

Loading Tweet ...
Tweet not loading? See it directly on Twitter

Asked about the strikes in the UK, the worker explained, “The strike was sparked over here by an all-out assault on every aspect of working life from pay to the most basic safety maintenance, to a complete privatisation of what remains of Network Rail and handing the entire setup over to private companies.”

Speaking on the “disastrous safety conditions rail workers in America are facing,” he said, “With anybody who’s working 80 to 100 hours a week, the railroad companies are forcing them into situations where everything is dangerous. And there’s been a lot of instances of safety incidents here. Lots of workers have left the industry for this reason because it’s dangerous.”

“What they’re trying to do in the UK is cut 50 percent of safety inspections, which, as someone who has been on the railways for 35 years, I know that that means that most of the journeys that we'll be making, we’re not going to know the condition of the track underneath, when we’re going 110 miles an hour! And that is not only putting rail workers in danger, but it’s putting the travelling public in serious danger.

“It’s going to be as ruthless and as brutal as what our American brothers and sisters are facing, which is provoking the current national strike.”

Read full article

Leader of Volvo Trucks Rank-and-File Committee to rail workers: “You guys have them scared”

Workers around the country and, in fact, the world are looking to railway workers to break through the stranglehold of the pro-corporate unions and use their power to overturn these conditions. Rick, a leader of the Volvo Workers Rank-and-File Committee in Dublin, Virginia, where workers conducted a powerful strike last year said, “The railroad workers have to stick to their guns. You guys have them scared. Organize, organize. Tell everyone working person.

“They will come back and say, ‘We better take this offer, it’s the best we are going to get!’ Bull crap. It’s junk, and they know it. They are hoping you guys and gals are too dumb and poor to turn it down. Hold the line.

“The Volvo workers did for three months until the company and the United Auto Workers union dangled just enough carrots to enough people and a good scare tactic it finally broke us. But now that everything that they didn’t show us is coming out, those people are kicking themselves.

“Demand to see the entire contract with enough time for people to read and understand what they are looking at. Volvo’s rank and file is supporting you.”