Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today released the following statement after he voted in favor of the current rail contract negotiation. After three years of negotiations, rail unions and rail carriers are currently deadlocked. Now, a potential strike looms next week if negotiations do not conclude, which would severely disrupt our economy and make the American people collateral damage of this labor dispute.
“There are no good options available for Congress in the current rail labor negotiations,” said Lankford. “A rail strike will make millions of Americans collateral damage just a few weeks before Christmas, but a vote to confirm a union leadership negotiated deal that the union members did not agree to is also a terrible option. Fuel, agricultural products, water treatment, household chemicals, cars, packages, and much more will be severely impacted by a rail strike, which would hurt families across Oklahoma and our nation. I spoke directly with rail workers in Oklahoma who want a better work-life balance and more control of their own schedule. Most Americans do not understand and would never be willing to live the difficult and unpredictable work schedule that rail workers face. Thankfully, today’s vote is not the last word. Rail workers have already set up new negotiations in a short 18 months, which will give them an opportunity to get their union leadership focused on negotiating the issues that the workers care most about.”