Rail freight carrier and passenger train companies have been finding ways to get their workers to do more for less for the past few decades. Considering how much the economy of the U.S. depends upon the massive amount of freight moved by trains, one would think the unions representing those workers to be very powerful. However, there are a dozen different unions, divided by craft, representing the various workers in the several rail companies in this country. To counter the divisive race to the bottom caused by inter-union fighting in the industry, rank-and-file rail workers of every craft have joined together to form Railroad Workers United (RWU). This group seeks to improve working conditions and pay through a united front approach. The group’s efforts to promote unity, solidarity, and internal democracy in their unions can awaken the class consciousness of some of the most potentially powerful workers in the industrial world. In this episode of Labor Beat, “Railroad Workers United,” we recap the group’s 2008 founding convention as their members discuss the need for RWU.
Camera/Editing: Andrew Friend; Additional Video: Steve Dalber. Produced by Labor Beat. For information about Railroad Workers United, visit railroadworkersunited.org. For information about Labor Beat: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.laborbeat.org. 312-226-3330. For other Labor Beat videos, visit blip.tv, Google Video, or YouTube.