Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on Wednesday blocked a Republican bid to avert a railroad strike, saying the workers themselves have not approved a union agreement.
''The rail industry has seen huge profits in recent years and last year alone made a record-breaking $20 billion in profit,'' Sanders said on the Senate floor after Senate, Health, Education, Labor and Pension Commission ranking member Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., introduced a proposal to push through a set of recommendations from a presidentially appointed bipartisan panel and prevent a potentially economy-stopping national strike.
''Last year the CEO of CSX made over $20 million in total compensation while the CEOs of Union Pacific and Norfolk Southern made over $40 million each in total compensation.''
A shutdown would likely cost the nation's economy $2 billion, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The proposal would potentially overrule workers’ decision on their contracts, which they have been negotiating since 2019.
Sander said railroad companies are seeing huge profits and should start being more fair with their workers.
"The CEOs in the freight rail industry need to understand that they cannot have it all," Sanders said. "The rail industry must agree to a contract that is fair and is just. It is time for Congress to stand on the side of workers for a change and not just the heads of large multinational corporations."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Democrats were putting the economy at risk.
''Senate Democrats just blocked our bill that would have given railway workers a big raise and prevented a crippling strike and supply chain crisis. If a strike occurs and paralyzes food, fertilizer and energy shipments nationwide, it will be because Democrats blocked this bill,'' he tweeted.
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