By all appearances, ESSB 5267, the bill that would extend unpaid–and unpunished–sick leave to railroaders who work in Washington, has sufficient support for passage. Knowing this, a handful of Representatives are using the Amendment process to pervert the bill’s intent, and to thereby keep it from reaching the House floor for a vote. One of those proposing ruinous amendments is Representative Mike Volz of Washington’s sixth district, an area that includes northern Spokane. Here are the Amendments offered by Representative Volz:
“NEW SECTION. Sec. 6. This act does not apply to employees of a railroad carrier who are covered under a collective bargaining agreement and whose schedules involve the transportation of wheat grain.”
“NEW SECTION. Sec. 6. This act does not apply to employees of a railroad carrier who are covered under a collective bargaining agreement and whose schedules involve the transportation of chemicals used for public water systems.
Clearly, Representative Volz relied on the railroads and their lobbyists when forming his novel understanding how we work; hence, the bizarre notion that we follow “schedules” when transporting wheat and water-treatment chemicals. Hopefully, the truth can help Mr. Volz change his mind.
It must be admitted that, of all BLET members who work territory in Washington, our terminal–at least in the short term–may gain the least from this legislation: Div. 104 members who live in “right-to-work” Idaho have no representation in Olympia, and a majority of the division’s Washington residents physically report for work in Idaho. It’s unclear how the bill would immediately aid the minority of our members who don’t work at Yardley. Our brethren who work elsewhere in Washington, however, would benefit immediately and tangibly from ESSB 5267’s passage . Efforts we make to aid the bill’s passage can be viewed as small but meaningful steps toward our own division’s long-term progress, carried out in solidarity with BLET colleagues–and other railroaders–who might right away stand to gain more than we do.
Representative Volz’s amendments would exclude us–railroad workers–from legislation written to protect railroad workers. Please contact Representative Volz and give him the opportunity to do the right thing. Urge him to withdraw his amendments to ESSB 5267. His Olympia phone number is 360-786-7922. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.