The Senate has approved a bill imposing a new union contract on tens of thousands of rail workers and prohibiting them from going on strike. Just 15 senators voted against the legislation Thursday. It requires some 60,000 freight rail workers who’d previously rejected tentative union contracts to keep working — or face termination. Senators rejected an amendment to extend bargaining by another 60 days. Another measure, which would have added seven paid sick days, failed to break a filibuster after 42 Republican senators and West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin opposed it. Vermont independent Senator Bernie Sanders spoke from the Senate floor ahead of Thursday’s vote.
Sen. Bernie Sanders: “And yet, today in that industry, workers who do difficult and dangerous work have zero paid sick days. Zero. You get sick, you get a mark against you. Couple of marks, you get fired. This cannot and must not happen in America in 2022.”
All 435 House congressmembers and 100 senators are entitled to unlimited paid sick leave. President Biden, who pledged as a candidate to be the “most pro-union president” in U.S. history, has promised to sign the unpopular deal into law.