A protest of approximately 30 people in support of railroad workers was held outside of New York City Senator Chuck Schumer’s Park Slope apartment on the evening of Dec. 4.
The protesters — which consisted of various socialists, community leaders, union members and general supporters — were vocally critical of Schumer following his recent Senate vote that was in favor of a law that would make a potential railroad worker strike illegal.
After a proposed contract between rail companies and workers had been reached back in September, the contract was rejected by four of the 12 railroad workers’ unions involved, which made a worker strike possible.
On Dec. 1, a bill was passed by the Senate with a vote of 80-15 in favor of imposing the proposed contract, which would prevent any imminent railroad worker strikes from being able to take place.
“I’m very glad that the two sides got together to avoid a shutdown which would be devastating for the American people, the American economy and so many workers across the country,” Senate Majority Leader Schumer told reporters, according to Politico.
At the protest, a letter from a member of Railroad Workers United — a railroad worker cross-union — was read aloud by one of the protesters.
In the letter, the RWU member raised numerous issues in regard to the contract that the Senate voted in favor of.
The letter brought attention to unsatisfactory time off for workers, pay raises that do not account for high inflation, cost of living and increasing healthcare premiums that will nearly double in cost by 2025.
In addition, the letter also said that the contract is concerning because it would allow railroad companies the ability to move to self-supporting pools, which would eliminate jobs of extra-board employees (workers that can cover for other employees).
“For all these reasons, the contract is not just not good enough, it is a concessionary contract that will make the crisis in the industry worse, leading to a continued decline in the quality of service and the delivery of key goods to where they need to go,” the letter said.
At the demonstration, protestors gave speeches in solidarity with railroad workers, denouncing Schumer’s vote, raising the issue of public ownership of railroads and paid sick leave for all.
Brooklyn Eviction Defense co-founder spoke of how the struggle of tenants is connected with the struggle of rail workers.
The protestors held a picket chanting “Schumer is a Scab” and “The Workers United will never be defeated”, among others.