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From the January-February
2009 issue of Union Democracy Review #177
Rail Workers United off to a highballing start
Railroad workers in the United States
are scattered among many unions. Railroad Workers United, a new alliance
of rail workers, reaches across unions, craft lines, and employing rail
lines to introduce the spirit of unity. It is not still another union
but a movement which advocates common action by those unions that already
bargain for rail workers. Under its ambitious watchword: "Unity-
Solidarity- Democracy: the Rank and File in Action," RWU embarks
on its own campaigns in their general interests.
Its founding convention in Dearborn, Michigan, in
April last year, emerged with a formal membership structure, a set of
officers, and a steering committee representing members of five different
unions. It now comes equipped with all the accoutrements of organization:
a newsletter, website, stickers, flyers, T-shirts.
Its newsletter, The Highball, announces campaigns
on safety and on retirement. Highball argues that the safety programs
of the various rail carriers "all have one common feature - they
fail to address the real safety hazards that exist
on workers behavior." RWU provides a "tool kit" of
materials that union locals can use to build real safety programs. The
campaign for pension improvements centers on a petition drive calling
for a reduction of the retirement age from 60 to 58 after 30 years of
For information see www.railroadworkersunited.org.
To call: (206) 984-3051.
workers on right track for unity
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