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Season 4, Episode 145

The state of the Railroad industry improves but is it enough?



Guest Name:

Tony Cardwell

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Tony Cardwell, President of the Brotherhood of Maintenance Way Employees Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (BMWE) joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast and talked about railroad industry safety. Cardwell discussed the fight by railroad workers for sick leave and how his path to join the union can be used to teach recruiters an important lesson. 

Over the last 25 years, safety has been an important topic for the railroad industry. However, with an average of 1,000 derailments a year, the issue has not been resolved. Despite efforts to pass legislation to improve safety measures for workers, nothing substantial has been enacted into law, Cardwell said. He believes this issue is due to the fact that most people do not notice derailments until one occurs that is similar to the East Palestine derailment.

BMWE’s fight for paid sick leave for railroad workers finally paid off, Cardwell said. Currently,  nearly 60 percent of railroad labor has paid sick leave, but a few companies refuse to negotiate. If there is to be a change in the safety standards, it will need to start with changes to the quality of life standards, he added.

Cardwell then spoke about his journey from a non-union railroad worker to a union man. He shared how patience by the union organizer was the key to helping him understand why he should join organized labor. He uses this story to educate organizers about methods to help improve their organizing numbers. 

Listen to the entire episode to learn more.

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.

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