The Effects of the Ohio Derailing


Daniel Ventura (11th), Editor

If a resident of the state of Ohio is asked what their opinion is about their current environment, they would probably say that it’s terrible due to the chemicals from the train derailment.

US railroad workers say the train derailment in Ohio forced many residents to evacuate the area due to hazardous chemicals that became an epidemic. Along with that, they complain that their work shifts and duration of breaks are unfair. Workers who are cleaning train tracks and surrounding areas in the Norfolk Southern Railway say that the chemicals caused many workers to be unpaid, while sick. Some of these suggest that it’s best that Congress looks into it so that workers can make Ohio communities sanitary.

Greg Regan, president of the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department, agrees with workers who complain their salaries aren’t worth working for the train track industries. He claims that if workers were to work for a long period of time working in the affected area, they are to expect a payment that will cost every penny the company can spare.

Directly speaking, the Ohio Railroad Industry used to have a total of 1 million workers which has plummeted down to a total of less than 150,000 between 2018 to 2020. The unfair deals that workers have been given are a cause.  Employees were told that they would be rewarded with increased sick days, but are being hindered due to the industry’s purchases for supplies.

As a response toward the working crisis, all 12 railroad unions issued a resolution demanding paid sick days for railroad workers on February 2, 2023. Bernie Sanders and Republican senator Mike Braun held a press conference with union representatives on 9 February to add further pressure to corporations to provide workers with at least seven paid sick days. After these adjustments toward the train industry were made, it was said that two unions representing 5,000 railroad workers, would provide four days of paid sick leave to all workers and allow workers to use up to three personal leave days for sick leave.

 Should the train track industry care about changing the work system?

I asked Pitman High School junior, Samuel Flores and he responded,”I think they should in order to prevent themselves from being the cause of employees’ deaths from chemicals.”