Joe DeManuelle-Hall

Reformers in the Machinists rail union have ousted incumbents in a Department of Labor-supervised election.

According to the results posted on the union’s website, challenger Reece Murtagh won the presidential election in District 19 of the IAM, 820 to 748, while his slate-mate Marty Rosato won 787 to 774 for secretary-treasurer.

Both Murtagh and Rosato are full-time railroad workers. Murtagh is a roadway mechanic for CSX and the president of his local lodge in Richmond, Virginia; Rosato works at CSX in Selkirk, New York. They will take office June 3.

Rail Workers Push for One Member, One Vote


Railroad track workers have launched a campaign to get their union officers elected by the members, rather than by convention delegates.

The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes is one of the largest of the 13 rail unions, with 31,000 members. The campaign is being organized by the group BMWED Rank and File United, with the backing of the longtime reform caucus Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU).

A new election for top officers will be held in Machinists District Lodge 19 on May 3, after complaints about bad addresses and campaigning at polling locations during a close vote last year.

The new vote for president and secretary-treasurer will establish who will set the union’s approach to the upcoming contract fight with the big freight rail carriers. Negotiations between the 13 rail unions and the carriers begin later this year.

Don’t Do the Boss Any Favors


Management everywhere relies on workers “going the extra mile.” We cut corners, we skip breaks, and we look the other way on common violations of the contract, work rules, or even safety.

But it’s also possible, when the time is right, to just stop doing the boss these favors. After all, how often does management do workers a favor?

Railroad unions continue their slow creep along the path to a settlement—or strike—in contract negotiations covering 115,000 workers. On August 16, the Presidential Emergency Board convened by President Biden issued its recommendations for a settlement. Many rail workers say they fall short and are prepared to strike to win more.

Texas Union Activists Fight 'Microtransit' Privatization


When “microtransit,” the new rage in transit privatization, showed up in Denton, Texas, union activists decided to fight back.

Microtransit is a loosely defined term that combines on-demand service with flexible scheduling and routes—imagine replacing a bus system with shared Ubers. It is presented as a high-tech alternative to public transit, but in reality it’s an extension of the drive to privatize.

Contract negotiations covering 115,000 rail workers in the U.S. are expected to heat up in 2022.

Workers are seething over the impact of extreme cost-cutting measures. Rail unions are escalating through the slow steps of negotiations under the Railway Labor Act—toward a resolution, a strike, or a lockout.

Rail remains one of the most heavily unionized industries in the country, and rail workers maintain the arteries of the economic system.

Union stewards are expected to wear many hats: communicator, advocate, shop floor lawyer, negotiator, mediator. Co-workers rely on good stewards to stand up to management, to know the contract, and to help find solutions even when a workplace problem isn’t covered under the collective bargaining agreement.

It can be overwhelming to take on all this work by yourself. Why go it alone when you could think like an organizer? This means instead of doing all the work yourself, you find ways to spread the work around. Your goals are:

New York City Municipal Employees Protest Abrupt Return to Offices


Eighty thousand New York City municipal workers who had been largely working remotely for the past 18 months were forced back this week to full-time, in-person work—after less than two weeks’ notice.

The majority of the city’s 300,000 municipal workers were already back at work. Many—such as sanitation workers and health care workers—never stopped working in person. These remaining 80,000 were those the city had deemed “non-essential.”

In July, Chicago’s city council passed a modified version of police accountability legislation that activists have spent years fighting for, backed by major public sector unions and Black labor leaders.