Sen. Tuberville on Voting ‘No’ on 7 Sick Days for Rail Workers: ‘It Was Going to Get Worked Out One Way or the Other’

Micky Wootten | December 8, 2022 | 11:06am EST
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Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.)  (Getty Images)
Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) (Getty Images)

(CNS News) - When asked about his decision to vote ‘no’ on extra sick days’ coverage for rail workers in last week’s strike aversion, Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) said that “some of us didn’t know whether to stand with management or with all the tens of thousands of workers,” emphasizing that the deal “was going to get worked out one way or the other.”

At the U.S. Capitol on Dec. 7, CNS News asked Tuberville, “How would you respond to critics who say that voting ‘no’ on extra sick days for rail workers was anti-worker?”

“You’ve got to understand the situation,” said Tuberville. 

“You know, it was going to get worked out one way or the other. I think that some of us didn’t know whether to stand with management or with all the tens of thousands of workers, you know,” he added.

“But at the end of the day, it was going to get worked out,” he concluded. “Luckily, we just went ahead and got it done, got it out of the way.” 

As CNS News has reported, President Joe Biden signed a bill last Friday averting a looming rail strike that was set to commence in early December.

Congress’ authority to intervene in contract disputes between labor unions and the railroad industry stems from the Railroad Labor Act of 1926.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

According to the law, the legislative branch may get involved in situations that “threaten substantially to interrupt interstate commerce to a degree such as to deprive any section of the country of essential transportation service.”

The Senate voted last Thursday on a deal that had been brokered by the Biden administration in September that included no paid sick days for rail workers. The deal passed the Senate by a vote of 80-15.

The Senate also voted on an additional deal that would include seven days of paid sick leave for rail workers. This deal failed in the Senate, 52 to 43.

Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) was the lone Democrat in the Senate who voted against the additional sick days.

His reasoning for doing so was not dissimilar from Tuberville’s sentiment, emphasizing that the deal had already been brokered by the Biden administration, and it was solely the job of Congress to pass it.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

“While I am sympathetic to the concerns union members have raised, I do not believe it is the role of Congress to renegotiate a collective bargaining agreement that has already been negotiated,” Manchin said in a Dec. 1 statement.

Furthermore, all but the following six GOP Senators voted to reject the sick day measure:

            Sen. Mike Braun (Ind.)

            Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas)

            Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.)

            Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.)

            Sen. John Kennedy (La.)       

            Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.)

Before Thursday’s vote, Senator Hawley referred to the extra sick day measure as a “test vote” for those in the GOP wanting to appeal more to working class voters:

“GOP wants to be a working class party, or should want to. We’re about to have our first test vote--with the workers or with Biden.”

After only 5 GOP Senators joined Hawley in voting for extra sick days, Hawley tweeted the following:

“At the behest of Joe Biden, U.S. Senate now using federal law to force railroad workers to accept contracts they voted to reject.”

Hawley also took aim at GOP Senators who voted ‘No’ on extra sick days:

“If D.C. Republicans want to be a working class party, they might want to do something for workers. Just a thought.”

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