Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio was involved in the talks to avoid a railroad strike. DeFazio, the Chairman of the House Transportation Infrastructure Committee, says “I’ve been talking to the White House pretty regularly.” He was optimistic about reaching a deal that could keep railroad workers from striking.
He says the two main unions were focusing on, “Something that it’s extraordinary to me that freight rail which is immensely profitable will not provide. Which is 5 unpaid sick days. They started out asking for 5 paid sick days. Now they’re just saying, 5 unpaid sick days. So I can go to the doctor and not get penalized.”
Right now workers are vulnerable under a points system, he explains: “You go to the doctor four times, you’re fired.”
DeFazio’s spent his 36 years in Congress focusing on transportation and environmental issues. He’s retiring at the end of this term. DeFazio spoke on an infrastructure summit for The Hill.