(Editor’s Note: Chris Townsend is a life-long union activist with ATU and before that UE. He has spoken at RWU Conventions and is a Solidarity Member of RWU.)
The Biden regime’s shameful betrayal of the railroad workers unfolded in late November and early December as the possible railroad strike crisis slowly wound to its ending. The gang-up on the railroad workers and their desire to exercise the basic right to strike was practically all-encompassing. Politicians from both political parties – with only a handful of exceptions – all of the media, every single large corporation in the country, and even some liberals and so-called leftists all made the case why the strike must be stopped. Broken even before it had started. This chorus all echoed the same canard, that it was too important to allow a rail strike, no matter that it was in response to the refusal of the company barons to seriously negotiate in the first place. The lack of time off for the workers alone qualified as a serious human rights violation, but of course their human rights had to be sacrificed for the monstrous profits of the railroad companies. All those who supported this shameful act by Biden, all who try to minimize it or even support it, are to be blasted. Thoroughly blasted. This strike breaking is unforgivable. Period. To excuse or forgive or conveniently overlook it is to invite more of this conduct.
The struggle of the railroad workers will continue. It has to. They have no choice. Conditions have become intolerable for a majority of the workforce. The draconian attendance policies of the rail bosses that virtually ban time off for the large operating sections of the workforce, and the fact that most workers are sure to “fire themselves” under these outrageous personnel policies give them no choice to keep up the fight.
From these strikebreaking acts come down several lessons, among others. We need to learn them.