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US rail labour union angered by 'one-two punch' from politicians

IANS | December 03, 2022 10:44 AM

WASINGTON: The Railroad Workers United (RWU) in the US has expressed anger at both the Democratic and Republican Parties.

On Friday, President Joe Biden signed a measure implementing a labour agreement between freight rail carriers and unionised workers that his administration brokered this fall, reports Xinhua news agency.

Congress cleared the bill on Thursday but the Senate rejected an amendment to grant seven days of paid sick leave to rail workers.

"A second defeat" was delivered by Republicans, most of whom refused to support a mandate that all railroad workers receive seven days of paid sick leave.

In a statement late Friday, the labour union said that it "finds it despicable -- but not surprising -- that both political parties opted to side with Big Business over working people yesterday and vote against the interests of railroad workers -- not once, but twice, within hours".

"We suffered a one-two punch at the hands of, first the Democratic Party; the second served up by the Republicans, " the union wrote.

The majority of US freight rail workers, said the union, had voted to reject the labour agreement that the Biden administration and Democrats backed.

However, lawmakers "simply overrode our voices and desires", it said.

"This one-two punch from the two political parties is despicable, " RWU General Secretary Jason Doering said in a statement.

"Politicians are happy to voice platitudes and heap praise upon us for our heroism throughout the pandemic, the essential nature of our work, the difficult and dangerous and demanding conditions of our jobs, " Doering stressed.

"Yet when the steel hits the rail, they back the powerful and wealthy Class One rail carriers every time."

Rail workers previously threatened to strike across the US if they failed to reach a labour agreement by December 9.

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