I’m not surprised, but I didn’t know President Biden appointed a panel to study ways to solve the labor dispute between Class 1 railroads and the major labor unions they have contracts with.

They just came back with recommendations to keep the rank and file workers, who keep America humming, happy. How about a 24% pay increase over the term of the next contract? That should help. Other suggestions concern health care, bonuses, time off for family emergencies and safety rules designed to keep people alive.

For some background information- It should come as no shock that major railroads have been posting record profits. Many of the reasons for this is built on the toil and sacrifice of their employees. Train crews have been cut down to two people in the cab. Knowing several conductors for major carriers, I can tell you it’s awfully easy to fall asleep at the throttle. The railroads want to cut crews down to one, and there will be absolutely no one to wake that engineer when he nods off by being hypnotized by the long stretches of nothing to do but be alert. Train crew employees have been reduced by 40% on some railroads, leading the remaining workers stretched thin and exhausted. Imagine being on call all the time, not knowing if you will be home on time to take your kid to a doctors appointment?

In addition, the Class 1 railroads have instituted some ridiculously draconian availability rules that have experienced railroaders walking away from the job instead of being treated like pets. They read like a russian roulette game of taking a chance on when you will be reprimanded for having a life. 

Clearly, having a serious labor problem at this point will lead to a chain reaction of negative consequences across the economy. Joe’s solution? Help the workers, thereby improving the performance of the railroads. What a revolutionary idea! How humane!

So what is the other side going to say about such treachery of the 1%?  Suggest the CEO’s run the disgruntled workers over with the their own trains? It wouldn’t surprise me either. But this is one more example of President Biden being a caring, thoughtful leader, that has been sorely missed.

P.S. back when he was V.P. I took an Amtrak trip to D.C. Knowing the Biden took the train home every day I made a point to ask every employee at Union Station if they had met the Vice President. To a man, they all said yes. My next question was always, “Do you like him?”. Again, every single person said yes. Some were downright effusive. It would have been a blast to sit at the bar waiting for my commuter train and have a beer with Uncle Joe. But it was not to be. But the bartender had witnessed that many times as Joe was always friendly and treated everybody with respect. That was enough to sell me on the fact that he is an honest to goodness real human being. I’ve had nothing but respect for him as a person ever since.

And I bet he doesn’t have any nuclear secrets unlocked in his basement.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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