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Season 4, Episode 245

New paid sick leave highlights 2023 worker protections won by BMWED



Guest Name:

Tony Cardwell

Guest Website:


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Supportive Documents:

Tony Cardwell, president of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the fight for paid sick leave in 2023. Cardwell also discussed the layoffs at Union Pacific and the joint funding efforts for high-speed rail projects.

Throughout 2023, the BMWED has been fighting for the protection of their workers and has come to agreements with the railroad companies to provide paid sick leave for workers. Of the six Class 1 rail carriers, they earned paid sick leave for railroad workers at five, with ongoing negotiations with the sixth. Cardwell talked about the importance of the grassroots efforts of members, something he believes has been crucial to the speed at which the agreements have been made. Cardwell said the BMWED hopes to have all rail properties provide paid sick leave for workers by the end of Q1 2024.

Over 1,000 railroad workers were laid off recently at Union Pacific, and Cardwell discussed the greater safety concerns related to these layoffs. Cardwell said the railroad workforce has been reduced heavily over the last decade. Since 2016, the workforce has been cut by nearly 33 percent, increasing safety and repair-related incidents. The deferred maintenance the workforce reduction has created could be detrimental to the rail industry. Still, after negotiations, the BMWED hopes to return many workers to their jobs.

Finally, Cardwell discussed the work done to fund several different high-speed rail projects and how these efforts will lead to union work on high-speed rails in the future. With several important international events, like the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Cardwell shared the importance of improved regional travel options.

To hear more from Cardwell and the BMWED, please listen to the episode above.

America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

America’s Work Force Union Podcast is brought to you in part by our sponsors: AFL-CIO, American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of Musicians Local 4, American Alliance for Manufacturing, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, Communication Workers of America, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 50, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Crafts, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 6, Ironworkers Great Lakes District Council, The Labor Citizen newspaper, Laborers International Union of The National Labor Office of Blue Cross and Blue Shield, North America, North Coast Area Labor Federation, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Survey and Ballot Systems, United Labor Agency, United Steelworkers.


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