Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis workers take to the picket line to secure paid sick leave


St. Louis – Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (BMWED-IBT) working at the Terminal Railroad Association (TRR) took to the picket line March 15 to demand annual paid sick leave for employees on the Class III railroad at its corporate headquarters at 1017 Olive Street.

Workers said management continues to stubbornly ignore its employees’ request for paid sick days, which have become the industry standard following last year’s near national strike on America’s freight railroads.

Railroad workers play a crucial role in keeping our nation’s transportation system running smoothly. However, despite their essential contributions, too many workers in the industry lack access to a basic necessity – paid sick leave. This lack of coverage puts their health, the health of their families, and the safety of the entire industry at risk.

The BMWED-IBT is urging TRRA to recognize the importance of providing paid sick leave for their employees. Since the last round of bargaining ended with the union dragging rail management through the halls of Congress to obtain annual paid sick time off, most of this country’s freight railroads (including BNSF, Union Pacific, CSX, Norfolk Southern, and others) have conceded that BMWED-IBT members are justified in demanding:

  • Paid sick leave: A fair and comprehensive paid sick leave policy that takes into account the unique challenges and demands of the railroad industry (outside work, travel, weather, stress, physical toll, etc.).
  • Health and dignity: Acknowledge the right of every worker to access paid sick leave without fear of retribution, ensuring their health and dignity are prioritized.
  • Transparent policies: Provide clear and transparent information about sick leave policies, eligibility criteria, and the process for requesting sick leave without penalty.

“What we’re doing is trying to get paid sick days,” said Johnny Long, general chairman of BMWED-IBT members on Norfolk Southern Railway. “We’ve been trying to get this since last year and lot of the railroads have already given them.”

Long worked for Norfolk Southern for 20 years before taking chairman position nine years ago.

The Covid pandemic highlighted the need for paid sick days, he said.

“We learned a lot of this from Covid,” he said. “In the railroad industry, it’s not something you can do from home. You’re in closed truck with other people, and if you’re coming in sick, they’re taking it home and to their families.”


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