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Biden Asks Congress to Implement the Railway Labor Act

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – SEPTEMBER 13: Workers service the tracks at the Metra/BNSF railroad yard outside of downtown on September 13, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. Metra, the largest rail service carrying commuters from the suburbs to downtown Chicago, said that it would be forced to suspend service on many of its lines if freight rail workers go on strike. In addition to the Metra disruptions in Chicago, Amtrak announced that it will temporarily cancel three of its long-distance, nationwide routes that run out of Chicago and rely on freight lines, citing a potential strike by the workers. Beginning Tuesday, the Southwest Chief from Chicago to Los Angeles, the California Zephyr from Chicago to San Francisco and the Empire Builder from Chicago to Seattle will be suspended. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

At this point, this was the obvious next step.

As I said in The Conversation piece, there was no way that either the president or Congress was going to let a strike happen. Here’s an even shorter primer:

The highly Trumpy railroad workforce can even say that Biden sucks for a reason now.

I agree this isn’t an ideal situation. The sick leave issue is still very terrible. It’s not just a workplace rights issue, it’s a human rights issue. I’m only saying that after Biden forced the slight improvement over the sick leave issue, that was as far as it was going to go. Even if Biden didn’t ask Congress to intervene, Congress was going to intervene anyway. I don’t blame the workers for not accepting this. But they also know that Congress can make them accept it and they’ve known that from the very beginning. So it is better for them to at least be able to say that it was Washington’s fault.

Sometimes, you just don’t have the power to make things that much better. As anyone who has ever been involved in a union knows, this is actually almost all of the time.

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