The Railroad Workers Rank-and-File Committee has announced its next public meeting for this Wednesday at 7 p.m. EST/6 p.m. CST, “The way forward after conductors reject White House contract.” To register for the event, click here.
The vote by 30,000 conductors, yardmen and others in SMART-TD to reject the White House-sponsored contract is a major step forward, and a humiliating setback for the carriers, the union bureaucracy and the Biden administration. The vote was an act of defiance by the rank and file against the bureaucratic conspiracy to force through the sellout.
The vote by railroaders is part of a major national and international upsurge of the working class. As railroaders were voting, tens of thousands of graduate students in California, educators in Canada, refinery workers in France and elsewhere have carried out strikes in defense of living standards and working conditions.
With the vote, the next stage of the fight begins. Under conditions where the rail carriers have refused to give up anything for three years, there is no avenue left for railroaders to win their demands except by launching a powerful national strike to bring the carriers to their knees. Meanwhile, Congress will now likely try to intervene to block a strike and enforce the rejected contract. Meanwhile, the union apparatus is continuing to try to demobilize and sabotage the position of workers.
But while corporate America presents a national strike as a “disaster” that would hurt “the economy,” tens of millions of workers would welcome and support a rail strike and would take it as the signal to push for their own demands.
If Congress, the White House or the bureaucracy intervene to violate railroaders’ rights and force them to work under this contract, then the response of the entire working class must be to act to force them to back down. To prepare, railroaders must leverage the enormous latent support in the working class, activating it, organizing it and preparing for joint actions.
Real unity is only possible through a fight to mobilize the strength of the rank and file against the corrupt union apparatus, which is conspiring to enforce the sellout contract on us. Even while they appeal for the broadest possible support, railroaders must organize to create the means to countermand decisions which violate the will of the membership.
Join hundreds of workers and their allies around the country this Wednesday evening to review the situation and discuss the way forward.
Railroad workers: Take up the fight for rank-and-file control! Join the Railroad Workers Rank-and-File Committee by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, texting (314) 529–1064 or by filling out the form below.