Quite possibly, yes. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) recently announced plans to introduce legislation that would score a major victory for railway employees. The legislation, if passed by both houses of Congress, would deliver paid sick day leave to the railroad industry.

More on the New Legislation

Senator Sanders and Senator Braun announced at a recent press conference that they plan to introduce bipartisan legislation mandating rail carriers provide a minimum of seven paid sick leave days per year. The proposed legislation comes shortly following the Tentative Agreement vote, where a paid sick leave amendment failed in a close senate vote. The agreement, however, did pass in the U.S. House of Representatives.

According to Senator Sanders:

“We are here today to send a very strong message to the CEOs in the rail industry, and that is that the American people are sick and tired of the type of corporate greed we are seeing in that industry…At a time of record-breaking profits, that industry can and must guarantee at least seven paid sick days to every rail worker in America. In the year 2023, that’s not a whole lot to ask.”

Senator Braun went on to say:

“When I heard you didn’t have a guaranteed sick day, I wondered how could you get by with that in this day and age? You don’t know when you’re going to get sick…It’s going to be an issue on keeping employees long-term. Most of this stuff should be natural, and if you do it, it’s in the best interest of your company, long term.”

Rising Profits, Dwindling Protection for Railroad Workers

Senator Sanders highlighted some of the following statistics at his press conference:

  • Six Class I railroads (not including CSX) spent $20 billion in 2022 on buybacks and dividends,
  • The $20 billion is $5 billion more than pay and benefits for the entire rail workforce, and
  • Rail CEOs made $175 million in three years in a period after cutting 30 percent of its workforce while they implemented Precision Scheduled Railroading.

“They are doing extremely well and what did they do with those record-breaking profits?” questioned Sanders. “Did they spend it on making the rail industry safer? No, they did not do that.  Did they spend that money on improving the horrendous working conditions today in the rail industry? No, they didn’t do that.”

Sanders, chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, sent a letter Feb. 8 to the CEOs of six Class I rail CEOs urging them to follow the lead of CSX, which made inroads to providing paid sick time to a limited group of 5,000 workers. The White House and DOT are also involved in ongoing talks with rail executives.

Contact Rossi Vucinovich for Help

If you sustained a railroad injury, please contact our law 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.