Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), issued the following statement on the 80-15 vote in the Senate to pass a resolution adopting the tentative agreements reached earlier this year between unions and railroads, and avert a national rail shutdown.
The Senate also voted 52-43 on an amendment to include an additional seven paid sick days to the tentative agreements--a priority for rail workers. Although Senator Murray and 48 other Democrats voted to advance the amendment, the majority of Senate Republicans voted in opposition and the amendment failed.
"This week, President Biden called on Congress to act to avoid a national rail shutdown, and adopt the tentative agreements reached earlier this year by the unions and railroads--and facilitated by our Labor Secretary Marty Walsh. These tentative agreements secure critical priorities for workers--including a 24 percent raise and $5,000 bonus--and have already been ratified by most of the rail unions.
"While I am always reluctant to bypass the traditional negotiation and ratification process for any collective bargaining agreement, the harm a national rail shutdown would cause to working families and communities in Washington state and across the country is undeniable--and I voted to protect the livelihoods of countless Americans and local communities.
"Every single worker in this country deserves paid sick days--and that absolutely includes rail workers. It's really that simple. So I am disappointed that the majority of Senate Republicans would not vote with us to provide seven paid sick days for rail workers. I have been fighting for decades now to finally establish a nationwide sick day policy--and despite Republicans' consistent opposition, I certainly won't be stopping now. It's time we finally pass my Healthy Families Act and guarantee paid sick days for all workers."