Defend right to strike! Support rail workers!

December 12, 2022

Working people have every interest in backing the struggle of rail workers against the attacks of the bosses and opposing government intervention aimed at crippling their use of union power.

Both President Joseph Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi seek to turn workers and farmers against rail workers, undermine solidarity with their struggle and weaken our unions. The Democrats’ strikebreaking operation has widespread Republican support.

Biden and Pelosi claim Congress must ban rail workers from striking because that would hurt other workers. They say a strike would put hundreds of thousands out of a job, prevent millions from getting groceries and medicine and hinder farmers from feeding their livestock.

In fact, a strike would give rail workers the maximum leverage to make gains against the relentless attacks of the bosses and set a precedent that would strengthen the labor movement and all workers. It’s bosses, not workers, who throw workers out of jobs. Democrats act as if workers sacrificing is the only way to prevent a strike. But bosses could stop a rail strike simply by granting the workers’ just demands.

Since 2017 railroad owners have cut jobs by 20%, slashing crew sizes and making the railroads more dangerous.

Long before rail workers started this contract fight, working farmers faced a squeeze from the owners of seed, fertilizer, agricultural implements and food processing monopolies, as well as the banks. These companies boost farmers’ production costs and limit the prices they get for their produce. A successful fight by rail workers would put a stronger ally at the service of the battles of working farmers.

Congress is not intervening in the interests of workers. It’s defending the bosses and their drive for profits at our expense. The contract imposed by Congress has already been voted down by rail workers. It doesn’t address crucial questions: livable schedules and hours, increasingly dangerous working conditions, time off when needed, paid sick days and an end to onerous attendance policies.

The rail workers’ fight is the fight of all workers and our unions! Shutting down production and transportation is the one power workers have. It shouldn’t be dependent on capitalist laws or congressional votes. Defend — and use — the right to strike!