Press Releases

Hickenlooper Calls for Inclusion of Sick Leave in Any Bill to Avert Rail Strike

Nov 29, 2022

Hickenlooper: ‘Railroad operators are holding the American economy hostage over 56 hours of sick leave.’

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper released the following statement on plans for a congressional vote to avert a rail strike:

“In America in 2022, a worker shouldn’t have to worry about reprisal from their employer for suddenly getting sick, going to the doctor or attending their mother’s funeral.

“Railroad companies are holding the American economy hostage over 56 annual hours of sick leave. Just seven days. We can keep our economy humming, our supply chains open, AND treat workers with dignity.

“Any bill should include the SEVEN days of sick leave rail workers have asked for.”

Rail workers currently receive zero sick days that can be used for emergency illness, caring for family members experiencing illness, or grappling with other life emergencies. Current workers employed by Class I railroad operators are also unable to use Paid Time Off (PTO) for illness because of policies requiring long lead times to submit PTO days and late approvals of requested days, sometimes not until 11:59pm the day before.

A seven day sick leave policy would cost railroad operators an estimated one cent of every dollar they earned in profit in 2022 and just 10 percent of the more than $2 billion the operators spent in stock buybacks in the third quarter of 2022.

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