The biggest news not making the news is the dispute between the national rail carriers and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen. Contract negotiations between the two parties are at a standstill. So the union held a vote October 3, to authorize a strike.
The engineers were ready to walk off the job at 12:01 Eastern, October 7. But the President has appointed a board to review the situation in order to avoid a strike for a two month period of time.
President Obama constantly touts workers, unions, and the middle class in his speeches, all while vilifying the rich and corporations. Yet the only statement I could find on the situation was in an article in Bloomberg in which he said: “Freight rail is vital to our economy and our future, It’s in our national interest to make sure our freight rail system runs smoothly, since a disruption could affect businesses across the country and cause unnecessary damage to our already-fragile economy.”
While it is true that our nation could not afford a major disruption to our economy right now, where are his cries of support for these union households firmly planted in the middle class?
One of the railroads affected by this is the Burlington Northern Santa Fe, owned by the president’s good friend Warren Buffett. Mr. Buffett is using his numerous resources to help raise money for the reelection campaign.
It is too bad there is not more coverage of this situation so we could see how the president would handle it and what he would say. The president faces a tough re-election campaign and cannot afford to alienate wealthy donors or working class union households. Since no man can serve two masters, the lack of coverage is to the president’s advantage.