CNN calls out Biden admin on the rail strike, ignores its own contribution to the problem

One of the most frustrating aspects of the fight for workers’ rights in the United States, is the way that both governing parties, while claiming to be “the party of the working class”, will screw the working class every chance they get. This is possibly even more consistent when you look at media corporations.

Over this past few months, the various rail worker unions have been trying to get paid sick leave for the first time in U.S. history. I’ll say that again – rail workers in the United States have never had paid sick leave. The deal that was rejected by most of the unions also didn’t give paid sick leave, but it did give a raise that was not requested. This is doubly a problem because rail corporations have been laying off their workers wherever they can, while raking in billions in profit. The result of this has been over-work, and an inability to get time off for emergencies or illness. They have paid vacation time, but that has to be scheduled in advance, and may be denied if someone can’t be found to cover your shift.

Which is likely, because as I mentioned, they’ve been laying off as many workers as they can, to resounding cheers from Wall Street. Most of the coverage of this mess has been, in my view, criminally biased in favor of the bosses. Remember Rutger Bregman’s description of Tucker Carlson? “A millionaire funded by billionaires”? Yeah, that’s not just that particular fascist, or even Fox News. That’s every major news corporation, and that describes their attitude on reporting anything to do with labor disputes. They love to ask rail workers if they’re “ok” with causing billions in economic harm, just for a few sick days, while ignoring that they currently have zero sick days, and ignoring the vicious greed of the bosses.

That’s why it was kinda shocking to see Jake Tapper actually calling out the Transportation Secretary over the Biden administration’s decision to weigh in on the side of the bosses.

As I’ve said, this is a consistent problem, so it’s nice to see it getting attention on corporate media. On the other hand, I strongly suspect that this segment aired when it did, because it had pretty much no chance of affecting the outcome. Too little, too late. Maybe I’m being too cynical, but it’s frankly shocking how often the bosses end up getting their way from both parties, while some politicians claim they did their best, even though they never actually fought for a better outcome. CNN did everything they could to maintain the situation that Tapper’s talking about, and I think he should do a segment on that as well.

I’m not going to hold my breath.

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  1. xohjoh2n says

    Umm, is that the thing? I got the impression from Beau that the “Biden administration” had directed congress to weigh in on the matter to resolve the dispute, but then *congress* had decided the ways and means of basically mandating the bosses’ offer with a minor addition as an amendment. Are you saying that specific direction also came from the White House?

  2. says

    Biden directed Congress to prevent a strike.

    He could have pushed for paid sick leave from the beginning, but he chose not to. The Democrats didn’t have to separate the vote to make striking illegal separate from the vote for sick leave, but they chose to.

    They sided with the bosses, and told the workers that if they stand up for themselves, law enforcement will side with the bosses, too.

    And keep in mind – Biden could veto this. He could say that he won’t sign a bill without paid sick leave, but he’s more concerned about “the economy”.

    As with the “essential workers” of the pandemic, his “support” doesn’t extend to actually using any of his power on their behalf.

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