The Morals of a Railway Strike
A railway strike has supposedly just been averted, by the intervention of Congress, which voted to "enforce a contract" that was previously negotiated only as a possibility and not any final agreement set in concrete. It really isn't a contract at all, in light of the fact that four of the twelve companies involved in negotiations are still refusing to ratify the agreement and calling for a general strike on December 9.
Part of their grievances are focused on a lack of paid sick days. This from an industry where the median pay is $30.84 per hour.
One certainly must make certain that he has enough income to provide for his needs and those of his family, and to hold some back for the rainy days and bad times that are sure to come in everyone's life, often at the worst possible moment. Typically, people simply saw those days of work lost due to sickness as just one of the many pitfalls of life.
Isn't it the individual's responsibility to plan for such things? Sure, if a company is gracious and so benevolent as to offer such a benefit, it is a fine act, but in the end, it really isn't something that's required. In the case of the railway companies, the top CEOs probably believe they are already paying sufficiently large salary packages that any individual worker should be able to absorb a few days of missed work.
As in all stories, there are probably a litany of other underlying motivating factors in the reluctance of these companies to settle for this deal.
However, although I see selfishness as no real vice, since one must see to his own success before he can help others, this latest bit of trouble for America smacks of a certain distasteful self-serving selfishness that endangers and threatens the entire nation on the heels of months of a broken supply chain and an incredibly rough economic period for all, especially the poorest of the poor. Getting a raise for the railway workers today is only going to exacerbate inflation across the board for all Americans, as top management moves to hike rail rates, making the cost of goods rise, too.
With that said, it's a dance between the general good of the people and the individual. It requires good common sense, common decency, empathy, and heart to ensure that everyone benefits and no one gets driven into the ground by undue burdens placed on him, inadvertently or purposefully.
What makes anyone in the U.S. government, the White House, or Congress believe he has the authority to force anyone to accept a contract he has already rejected or stay on the job for any reason? Congress has no such authority at all, and this bill violates these workers' inalienable God-given rights in every imaginable manner — violating their conscience, free will, and individual persons as free men who have a right to be free of any forced servitude.
Each railway worker has the absolute right to strike, even in the wake of this bill, but that doesn't mean he should or that he really has to do so to make a point. From my perspective, they should be able to bite the bullet, if just this once, until the supply chain is fully stabilized, and perhaps until saner minds have the economy tracking on toward an infinitely better position. But if they really think those seven days of paid sick leave are going to make them or break them, hey, go ahead and strike, and don't give a care for the consequences for all Americans that will accompany it.
This isn't the first time America has faced tough days and railway strikes. Should this looming threat be realized as a fact of life in the days ahead, the companies full well do have the absolute right to replace those striking employees, if they can find comparable and qualified workers to replace them, possibly from graduating classes of colleges known to specialize in training future railway workers, like Penn State and Sacramento City College.
And if the situation becomes dire, Joe Biden can always call in the military to replace the strikers and take over operation of the railway transit and shipping operations, as America saw President Cleveland do in 1894, or President Truman in 1946, when he "called on the striking railroad workers to return to their jobs as a duty to their country."
Someone needs to bite the bullet on this one, and it could be said to be a toss-up, since nearly every railway company listed profits of two to three billion dollars last year, suggesting that all of them can afford it, and in light of how much their workers are paid.
The next question that comes to mind is, don't these companies have the right to keep their profit rather than take on an added responsibility for their workers? I guess in the end, it will be a matter of whether the CEOs perceive the workers' "need" as a valid "grievance." It will also ultimately come down to just how much they really care for their people.
Joe Biden has touted the agreement as one of his crowning achievements as he sidles up to the unions and labor leaders. He recently suggested that the workers should get the seven days' paid sick leave, just like what countries in Europe have. Yes, just look how well Europe is doing, handing out all kinds of "free stuff" like it's candy in its socialistic fervor as the entire European Union is currently in economic dire straits.
Nothing in life is free. Someone always has to pay the cost on down the line. In this instance, regardless of who loses and wins in this controversy, it is most of America who will lose, especially if we allow ignoramuses like Biden to keep spending our tax dollars like they're his own, spending Americans' money 'til it all runs out.
Americans are the largest consumers of goods in the world, living in a greed-driven world constantly under attack by television ads to buy more stuff and keep "keeping up with the Joneses." And while there's nothing wrong with wanting what everybody wants, in the way of a nice home, decent food on the table, quality clothing, and the ability to afford a few of life's luxuries, as one takes note of the massive abundance and hoarder-like qualities of so many, who simply accumulate everything just to say they have it — I guess it's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it — one must wonder at just what point is enough stuff enough stuff.
No one should be faulted for being successful, or seeking to become even more successful. However, in troubled times for many across the nation, we could all do a bit more to make sure our actions don't bring on more troubles for everyone across the country.
Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.