Statement regarding 7 days of sick pay for Rail
On Wednesday, November 30, 2022, the House of Representatives passed the House Concurrent Resolution 119. Resolution 119 provides seven (7) days of paid sick leave for all railroad workers employed at Class I railroads. The House Concurrent Resolution 119 passed by a vote of 221 in favor, 207 opposed.
The NCFO applauds the 3 Republican members of the House and the 218 Democratic members of the House who voted in favor of Resolution 119. The 207 Republican members of the House who voted NO, should be ashamed of their vote. These 207 Republican members enjoy their own lucrative sick-leave benefit. However, they voted that the American NCFO Class 1 railroad membership isn’t deserving of the same benefit.
NCFO President, Dean Devita, made the following statement:
For three (3) years the Railroads refused to engage in good faith bargaining, the agreement that was reached, was the recommendations of Presidential Emergency Board #250, not from traditional bargaining. The Railroads refused to engage in any subject that would reduce profits for their stockholders. The Presidential Emergency Board failed to address the sick leave issue, which in this day, makes no sense and cannot be defended. The wage increase that was recommended was the largest in 48 years. However, 48 years ago when an NCFO member went to visit their medical provider, they simply had to walk into a doctor’s office for treatment. Today, we have to schedule appointments. Often times it may take weeks or months, especially for new patients. Furthermore, with the advancements of our healthcare system, patients have greater access to specialists, but those visits have to be scheduled well in advance and cannot be easily re-scheduled. Regardless of the medical provider a member visits, most members will have to endure some type of medical testing/exam throughout their career. For example, a member goes for their yearly scheduled exam. They must have time to attend the appointment, then have time to go to the testing location for tests ordered by the provider from the yearly exam, and finally return for a follow-up appointment for testing results. Based on the test results, it could require additional appointments.
In the last 48 years science has developed life-saving breakthroughs, that every American deserves to have access to. It’s astounding that in 2022, Corporate America and politicians would deny any American the opportunity to healthcare. The fact a member has to choose between their livelihood and their health, because of their employer and the 207 Republican House members that are elected officials, is downright immoral. Beyond that, railroaders get the flu, colds, and viruses like everyone else; they should have paid time off to deal with those illnesses just like almost everyone else (and members of Congress). Not only do railroaders deserve time off to recover, but their co-workers also deserve protection from infection.
Railroad workers working conditions are largely different than the working conditions in Congress. Our members work in hellish conditions, that often push workers to the brink of illnesses. It’s rather clear how several of the House Republican members value our work. Comments such as “railroad workers can use vacation time” or “railroad workers can’t have their cake and eat it too” are just a couple of the disgusting statements from these elected officials. Oddly enough, during the COVID-19 pandemic these same workers, were essential and deserving. But now that idea has changed!
The American worker is the greatest asset that America offers to their citizens. The American worker-built America. Many of the American-workers also served and protected America. The American worker is simply the backbone to the economy.
On September 1, 2022, I spoke at our Chapter #782 Union meeting in California. I shared with the members that the Railroads refused to bargain in good faith and that the only way we will get paid sick days is by Congressional action. So, here we are. Members of the House has spoken loud and clear. 221 “yes” votes for our railroad workers receiving seven (7) paid sick days! Now, it’s the time for the members of the Senate to stand in solidarity with railroad workers. Vote “YES” for sick time for railroad workers.”NCFO President Dean Devita
The NCFO is an affiliate of 32BJ SEIU, the Service Employees International Union, which has 2.1 million members dedicated to raising industry standards, making life better for working families and our communities, and building a fair economy.