Sen. Marco Rubio Sides With Unions In Ongoing Railroad Dispute


Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio announced Tuesday that he will oppose legislation forcing unions and railroad companies into a collective bargaining agreement.

Four railway workers unions rejected in member-wide votes a collective bargaining agreement negotiated by the Biden administration, union leadership and the railways. If the unions and railways do not come to an agreement by Dec. 8, the unions will strike. President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass legislation forcing the unions into the agreement, which the legislative branch can do under the Railway Labor Act.

“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,” Rubio said in a statement detailing his opposition.

“This whole episode highlights many of the ongoing problems in our economy. On the one hand, Wall Street’s drive for efficiency has turned rail workers into little more than line items on a spreadsheet. On the other hand, you have union leadership so disconnected from its rank and file that they struck a deal their members can’t support,” he continued.

The agreement includes a 24% raise over its five-year term, but does not include paid sick leave. If the workers strike, more than 765,000 people could lose their jobs within two weeks and communities could go without clean drinking water, according to White House estimates. (RELATED: Biden Admin Strikes ‘Tentative’ Deal With Rail Unions, Avoids Potentially Devastating Strike)

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said that she will introduce legislation Wednesday forcing the unions and railways into the agreement. Rubio’s opposition will force the upper chamber into several more votes since all senators are not in agreement. Biden said Monday that he hopes Congress will pass the legislation “well in advance” of the Dec. 9 strike date.