WASHINGTON – Greg Regan and Shari Semelsberger, president and secretary-treasurer of the Transportation Trades Department (TTD) of the AFL-CIO, today issued this statement regarding a potential extension of the cooling off period for rail negotiations:
“As the nation’s largest transportation labor federation, we proudly represent the dozen rail unions involved in the ongoing national contract dispute.
Let us be clear and speak with one voice on behalf of the rail labor movement: we unequivocally and wholeheartedly oppose any extension of the current cooling off period for rail negotiations past the current date of December 9th at 12:01 am ET.
Rail workers have been without a contract for three years now. Even though rail workers have zero days of paid sick leave and have not received a pay raise in three years, they labored tirelessly during the pandemic to keep our nation’s supply chain running.
Freight railroads have made it clear that they are not interested in further negotiations with rail unions. Thus, any proposal to further extend the cooling off period would yield zero progress. Rather, an extension would simply allow the railroads to maintain their status quo operations while prolonging the workforce’s suffering.
Additionally, an extension of the cooling off period would undermine workers’ rights under the Railway Labor Act. It would also prolong this moment of uncertainty regarding potential disruptions to freight rail service that would have devastating ripple effects for the national economy, rail customers, and consumers.
No more excuses. No more delays. Rail workers deserve a fair contract now that guarantees good wages, health care, and benefits.
We urge the Senate to reject any proposed extension of the cooling off period. Now is the time to the House’s lead, including passage of an amendment to provide sick days.
There is only one path forward for Senators who are on the side of working people. The Senate should vote YES on guaranteeing seven days of paid sick leave to rail workers.”