Two Top Executives Leave Twitter

Robert Hubbell: Biden Was Right to Avert the Rail Strike

Blogger Robert Hubbell analyzes the choices that President Biden had to make to avoid a shutdown of the nation’s rail system and concludes that he made the best decision. Some support—any support—from Republicans would have made it possible to include paid sick days, but Republicans adamantly oppose a perk that they themselves enjoy.

The Republicans know what they are against: anything that helps middle-income people, low-income people. They don’t know what they are FOR. Do you know? Well, tax breaks for the rich and corporations.

Democrats lead the way in the effort to avert a rail strike.

The House passed a bill to avert a rail strike, which passed with broad bipartisan support. The House also passed a separate bill authorizing seven days of paid sick leave for rail workers; Republicans voted in near lockstep against the bill providing for sick leave—221 to 207. Of course, the Republicans who voted to deny sick leave to rail workers have unlimited sick days themselves. See Newsweek, Republicans With Unlimited Sick Days Vote Against Time Off for Rail Workers.

Senate Republicans will vote against the paid sick leave bill but support the bill to end the strike, thereby forcing a contract on rail workers they rejected over the absence of sick leave. In a truly perverse display of GOP deceit, Senator Rubio tweeted that he would “not support a deal that doesn’t have the support of the rail workers.” Of course, if Rubio voted to support the sick leave bill, that would be the “deal” that rail workers want. Rubio gives politicians a bad name—and that is saying a lot!

Many readers sent emails and made comments in support of the rail workers’ demand for paid sick leave. For an explanation of the arguments in favor of allowing a strike over paid sick leave, see Ryan Cooper’s op-ed on MSNBC, Biden picked the wrong side in the rail union strike. As Cooper explains, the refusal to grant sick days will harm the operations of rail carriers and eventually lead to many of the supply chain issues that Biden is seeking to avoid.

Mr. Cooper’s arguments are unassailable, but he describes only one side of the argument. He does not address whether a strike now that would impose $2 billion in daily losses to the economy and cause the loss of 700,000 jobs is an appropriate way to secure a benefit for 115,000 rail workers.

Mr. Cooper could reasonably say, “Yes, the loss of jobs and harm to the economy is worth it because we must draw a line in the sand somewhere” (as one reader said in an email). But simply ignoring the harm to the economy and job losses is hardly fair to President Biden if your thesis is that Biden picked the “wrong” side in the dispute. It was a difficult choice and Biden made a tough call. As with almost every issue, Biden will be blamed for seeking to protect the interests of tens of millions of Americans. It comes with the territory!

Leave a Reply