Republicans Support Economic Populism In Rail Workers Conflict

A Senate vote on the rail workers’ request for sick leave highlights a divide within the GOP. Despite the Democratic Party’s outspoken position on championing the working class, the Biden Administration has tried to force the new railroad deal without consent from the rail unions. Republicans are trying to ensure the rail workers get what they need to end the union strike.

On Thursday, a rail shutdown was averted following disputes between rail workers and operators. The Senate voted to impose the White House deal that grants workers a 24% pay increase and an extra paid day off. Senate passage came one day after the bill cleared the House.

The legislation became divided over workers’ rights when introduced with a separate proposal to grant employees seven days of sick leave rather than the one day provided in the White House labor deal. Six Republican senators voted with Democrats to add the additional days of sick leave. Other Republicans voted no, saying that it’s not Congress’s place to rewrite the contract brought on by the White House.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said he would not back any deal that does not provide support to the rail workers. “Just because Congress has the authority to impose a heavy-handed solution does not mean we should. It is wrong for the Biden Administration, which has failed to fight for workers, to ask Congress to impose a deal the workers themselves have rejected. I will not vote for any deal that does not have the support of the rail workers,” Rubio said.

Many Republicans are outraged at this move by the Biden administration that leaves lawmakers caught between a rock and a hard place. The unions and workers rightfully rejected a deal that doesn’t give them the basic human decency of paid sick leave, and instead of offering them what they need, Biden is pushing the problem onto Congress.

Former President Donald Trump changed the way Republicans view their supporters. America’s working people are where the support lies. In realizing this, the party will pursue a more working-class-friendly agenda, including support for noncollegiate workers and pro-family tax credits.