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Rail Labor Applauds Senate Committee Passage of REEF Act

By Admin

WASHINGTON– Greg Regan and Shari Semelsberger, President and Secretary-Treasurer of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), today issued this statement after the Senate Budget Committee voted 21-0 to advance the Railroad Equity and Employment (REEF) Act, S. 1274:

“As America’s largest transportation labor federation, which proudly represents rail labor unions and workers across the country, we applaud the Committee’s unanimous decision to pass the REEF Act to fully restore rail workers’ unemployment and sickness benefits. This legislation is unanimously endorsed by all of rail labor and is supported by the rail industry as well.

“For more than a decade, rail workers have been unfairly targeted by federal cuts to their benefits. In 2013, rail workers were singled out by the Budget Control Act and subjected to sequestration of their unemployment and sickness insurance program benefits despite the fact the railroads and workers were the sole contributors to the program. No taxpayer or federal dollars were spent, nor saved, through the reduction of these benefits. 

“Today, Congress acted in a bipartisan effort to end these arbitrary cuts and allow workers to reap the full benefits of this essential program. We thank  Senators Fischer, Klobuchar, Brown, Ricketts, Sanders, Capito, Braun, Casey, Baldwin, Crapo, Marshall, King, and Hawley for supporting the REEF Act, which will permanently restore these benefits. We applaud Senator Whitehouse, Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, for holding today’s important markup.”

“Without further congressional action, these harmful reductions will last until 2031. The current reduction is about $50 every pay period. Rail workers are the only ones in the country whose benefits are targeted in this way. We urge the Senate to swiftly hold a Floor Vote on this legislation now that it has passed out of Committee.”


Additional background: During the pandemic, Congress temporarily paused arbitrary federal reductions to rail worker unemployment and sickness insurance program benefits, until 30 days after the end of the Covid-19 pandemic. When Congress passed legislation declaring an end to the Covid-19 national emergency, which President Biden signed on April 10, 2023, it set in motion the 30-day countdown to the end of this temporary relief for rail workers. On May 10, 2023, sequestration resumed.