WASHINGTON – As the nation commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), all U.S. rail labor unions unanimously adopted a Resolution calling for paid sick leave.
“The lack of paid sick leave for rail workers came into the national spotlight during this last round of national contract bargaining that concluded in December,” said Greg Regan, President of the Transportation Trades Department (TTD) of the AFL-CIO. “A worker should not be fired for going to the doctor. Yet it is 2023 and railroaders are fighting for sick leave in the richest country on Earth.”
The United States is one of just six countries without a national leave policy. In November, the House of Representatives narrowly passed a measure to guarantee seven days of paid sick leave to all rail workers, by a vote of 221-207. The measure failed to garner the 60-vote threshold required to pass the Senate, failing by a vote of 52-43.
“Thirty years after the passage of the Family Medical Leave Act, the lack of paid sick leave for all railroad workers is unacceptable,” said Leo McCann, Chair of the Rail Labor Division of TTD. “All of rail labor is united and resolved to fight for paid sick leave for all rail workers through collective bargaining or voluntary agreement with the railroads.”
Last week, three major U.S. railroads announced record-breaking profits: Union Pacific made a record profit of $7 billion in 2022; CSX and Norfolk Southern also announced record profits of $4.17 billion and $4.8 billion respectively in 2022. The fourth major U.S. railroad, BNSF, will report its earnings later this month.
Rail corporations are raking in record profits and can afford to provide every worker with paid sick leave.
“Absent a national paid sick leave policy, the burden of securing this humane policy falls onto the shoulders of workers and the unions that represent them,” said TTD President Regan. “Rail labor is committed to pursuing and securing paid leave for workers this year to create a safer, healthier national rail system for all.”