A recent article in the New Yorker examined, in-part, a pro railroad contract that was forced on railroad workers. The article did so to bring light to a very real problem taking place across the U.S. The problem is that despite new excitement around labor rights, many workers are finding that the U.S. government offers them little protection. The problem persists in the railroad industry and well as many others.

Labor Laws Overwhelmingly Favor Employers

The recent article brought to light the fact that many of today’s labor laws overwhelmingly favor employers over employees. Consider, for example, the reality that many railroad workers do not really have the right to strike. The Railway Labor Act (which was established in 1926) allows the federal government to not only make contract recommendations to workers, but it says the government can force a final labor agreement on both railway operators and unions.

Note that the above law was extended to the airline industry in 1936. The logic here is that forcing acceptance of a labor agreement is necessary to maintain the proper flow of humans and cargo. And this is more important than respecting a worker’s right to strike.

The Railroad Contract in Question

The New Yorker article referenced a railroad contract that was meant to resolve a three-year-long dispute between the federal government and railroad workers that involves railroad wages, scheduling, and benefits. The agreement had not been drafted in the usual course of collective bargaining between the 12 rail unions and the National Carriers’ Conference Committee. But it was drafted by fiat, at the behest of President Biden.

Under the new agreement, workers do receive pay raises that are meant to offset inflation. However, the workers are still subject to spur-of-the-moment scheduling and long hours. The Senate also failed to pass a related agreement that would have provided railway workers with paid sick days.

Hope on the Horizon?

Some commentators have pointed towards possible hope for today’s employees. One source of hope is the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, which was discussed in Congress last year. The Act would make it easier for workers to form unions and for the National Labor Relations Board to penalize workers who act in bad faith. However, a true hindrance to hope is that workers are tired of losing out to the interests of their employers. If a positive law is indeed passed, workers may be les willing to abide by them since current laws do so little for them.

Contact Rossi Vucinovich for Help

If you sustained a railroad injury, please contact our firm for help. Rossi Vucinovich PC has been helping railroad employees and people injured in railroad accidents recover from railroad injuries for over 50 years. We are dedicated to helping you obtain the benefits you need to treat your injuries, pay your bills, and continue supporting your families. Do yourself a favor and contact us today to get the legal help you deserve.