Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Karissa Beltran-Jimenez, Journalist

President Biden and Congress are working to prevent possible rail strikes. As of November 21st, eight rail unions have declared the potential strike of its 100,000 laborers on December 9th. The union’s strike is directed toward their demands for 56 hours of paid sick leave previously they had none. CdM senior Emmett Eilers said “The rail worker is still one of the most important jobs in America with Billions coming in and out of it” and Though just recently announced their strike, it “is due to a lack of support for years”. 

After tentative negotiations, four of the eight the unions, including, The National Railway Labor Conference, the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, The Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, and The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (BMWED) have declined a 24% wage increase proposed in September. In response, Sophomore Laura Wagner comments that “as inflation increases, it’s becoming more important to fight for fair wages that ensure bare necessities to a healthy life”. She stresses that laborers’ “time is valuable, especially with working multiple jobs or having a family, so wages must reflect that time and effort put into that job”.

Congress’ efforts to stop the strike are driven by The American Chemistry Council reporting that the massive strike could affect the economy by over 2 billions dollars a day; if extended throughout December, the economy could be facing 160 billion in lost profit. Despite the cons the economy faces from the strike Eilers said workers and other memes of the community “must take action to ensure that everyone gets equal treatment at work” especially essential workers as they “are often the backbone of our economy”. In support of the rail workers, Eilers said “Especially now, as the spotlight is on them due to covid, this is the time to take action to fight for their rights at work”. Eilers adds that  “Congress needs to step in to make sure that businesses’ listen to their employees” though CNBC reports that if the strike becomes a larger economical threat, Congress could enact the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, halting union’s efforts. Wanger suggests that  “Because [essential workers] are funded by the city, state, or federal government, an increase in taxes would be sufficient in helping working conditions. Even though it is costly, the jobs these workers do make a huge difference”. She points out that “the rail strike happening right now shows the effects of undervalued workers”. 

As negotiations continue the need for change is fueled, garnering the attention of other essential workers. Also reaching President Boden as well as the Federal Government, the world is awaiting the outcome as well as what effect this stand will have on the economy.