30 November 2022

A monstrous betrayal (updated)

Congressional Democrats and president Biden are about to commit a monstrous betrayal, stabbing American working people in the back.

For months, unionized rail workers have been negotiating with the railway companies to get a new contract.  The deal currently on offer does provide for substantial raises, but doesn't address the workers' most important demand -- paid sick time (rail workers currently get no paid sick days).  For this reason, members of four of the twelve unions involved voted to reject the deal, raising the possibility of a strike in December.

Because such a strike would have severe effects on the economy, Biden and Democrats in Congress are now threatening to pass legislation which would force the unions to accept the deal.  It would be possible to amend the legislation to incorporate the workers' demands for paid sick time -- as senator Bernie Sanders is in fact demanding -- but for some reason most of the "leaders" who are plotting this betrayal don't want to do that.

With Democrats like this, who needs Republicans?  This is not what I thought I was voting for three weeks ago.

I'm frankly too angry to write a lengthy post about this, but Bruce Gerencser's blog has an excellent and detailed discussion of the whole situation.

The House is expected to vote on this today.  You can look up your representative here based on your zip code, then click on the name under the picture at left to go to the representative's website which has contact info.  Look up senators and their contact info here.  They need to hear that if preventing a strike is so important to the economy, they can damn well vote to impose a settlement that does include the paid sick time.

Update (8:25 AM):  After the main vote, Pelosi is going to hold a second House vote on adding seven days of paid sick time to the deal.  This seems likely to pass the House.  The problem will be getting it through the Senate, where sixty votes will be needed due to the filibuster.  There is some Republican support for adding the sick days.

According to Crooks and Liars, the Democratic party leadership did not want to do this.  They were pushed into it by Sanders and a few other progressives -- and, to give credit where due, a few Republicans who support the sick days.

Democrats need to fight like hell to get the sick-leave addition through the Senate.  In particular, Biden needs to get on board, which so far he has not been.  The party needs to deliver results, not just a symbolic action to make Republicans look bad.  There's never going to be a more defining issue than this.

Kudos to Sanders for speaking out and keeping this issue alive.

Update (10:50 AM):  The House has passed the paid leave addition.  Biden still hasn't weighed in.


Blogger Mary said...

Today Pelosi also announced that Congress will take up the legislation Biden asked for yesterday: a law to put in place the deal between the railroad corporations and the railway unions. Four of 12 unions have rejected the deal because of its lack of paid sick days. In a letter to her colleagues, Pelosi expressed reluctance to bypass standard ratification procedures but said, “we must act to prevent a catastrophic strike that would touch the lives of nearly every family: erasing hundreds of thousands of jobs, including union jobs; keeping food and medicine off the shelves; and stopping small businesses from getting their goods to market.”

She promised to bring the measure up for a vote tomorrow.

But, Pelosi has found a way to demonstrate to union members and to lawmakers like Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who are angry at Biden’s determination to avoid a strike, that those standing in the way of paid leave for the unions are not the Democrats. After the vote on the agreement, she will hold a “separate, up-or-down vote to add seven days of paid sick leave for railroaders to the Tentative Agreement.” Such a measure is likely to pass the House and die under a Republican filibuster in the Senate.

30 November, 2022 05:23  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Well, kudos to Pelosi for adding that. The Democratic leadership needs to fight like hell to get it through the Senate. That should be possible -- some Republicans, such as Marco Rubio, support adding the sick time provision.

A meaningless symbolic "look who the real bad guys are" effort will fool no one. Democrats need to deliver actual results.

Biden is on record as opposing any changes to the existing deal. Fuck him.

30 November, 2022 07:51  
Blogger Leanna said...

And to think that Biden was for Unions. He is showing his true colors and this will cost democrats the presidential vote in 2024. He LIED to get the vote. That's just what every politician does every 4 years to get into power.

30 November, 2022 12:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A case against the filibuster.

30 November, 2022 12:22  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

It's astonishing that Biden hasn't come out forcefully for the paid-sick-leave addendum.

Unfortunately, Manchin and Sinema oppose getting rid of the filibuster, so the votes were not there.

01 December, 2022 07:34  
Blogger yellowdoggranny said...

well sonofabitch.that sucks..I hope the union gets their sick leave and the democrats grow a pair.

01 December, 2022 07:35  
Anonymous spirilis said...

Did anyone really think Democrats as a group were changing? There are "good" and "bad" in EVERY group of humans with every type in between. To think otherwise is delusional. The key to every interaction is figure out what the other wants and then get it for them. I'll wait to see what our betters have in mind before I get to action. The only thing that really matters is if the rail workers stand their ground. I always like to say "make me" before I fight. Do they teach railroad engineering in the National Guard?

01 December, 2022 10:02  
Anonymous spirilis said...

Leanna, I have no doubt that POTUS is a very accomplished liar. Maybe saying he's against changes is classic lying so as not to tip his hand.

01 December, 2022 10:09  
Blogger Mary Kirkland said...

They deserve paid sick days, in my opinion all workers do. At least a few paid sick days.

01 December, 2022 12:08  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

One day of sick leave is insane! The Dems better support the 7-day sick leave.

01 December, 2022 15:29  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

It didn't pass. New post just up.

01 December, 2022 16:34  
Anonymous Annie said...

I am profoundly disappointed in Biden, whose pro-union stance had until now been unassailable. As has the Democrats’. Every piece of big legislation they passed has wage increases for federal workers built in and incentives to make business bend toward their workers. And they’ve accomplished all this against Republican opposition. A NYTIMES editorial had shown the path he could/should have followed: insisting to the magnates that he wouldn’t sign this legislation if they agreed to the seven days sick leave. Despite this awful position, I think it’s unfair to write off Biden and the Democrats.

04 December, 2022 04:32  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

He still has the option of doing it by executive order -- I'll be watching for action on that front. And the rail workers still have the option of striking, law or no law.

04 December, 2022 06:19  

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