Produced and edited by Aida Chavez and Meg Herschlein
Tim Ryan rallied with rail workers in Ohio who are on the verge of a major strike. Ryan shared the lesson he learned from his grandfather: always side with workers. We spoke with rail workers and Ryan in Ohio. Below is a full transcript of the video.
Tom Galloway: Unions, organized labor built the middle class of this country. It’s been kicked to the curb by the Republican Party. The Democratic Party still has more to do, more to say for organized labor than does the Republican Party.
Tim Ryan: My grandfather, who I mentioned was a steel worker, towards the end of his life, he called me up to take him grocery shopping. We had to go to one side of town to get this grocery store because the provolone cheese was on sale for $9.99 or something like that, and then we had to go all the way back to the other side of town because the salami was on sale.
So, I’m getting a little frustrated at this point. I’m like, you know, this has been going on for like a couple hours. And I said, okay, grandpa, it’s about time to get home, grandma’s making lunch, she’s gonna be mad at me. And, uh, and he says, well, we got one more stop to make. And I said, great, we’ll go right over here. He goes, “Can’t go over there.” I said, “Grandpa, we’ve been here two hours. Grandma’s mad, she’s got pizza she’s making, we’ll go right here, pick it up, and we’ll leave.” “Can’t go over there.” I said, “Why not?” The meat cutters are on strike, and we ain’t crossing that picket line. [applause]
And my grandfather did not know the terms of the contract negotiations at that grocery store. He didn’t know if it was working conditions, or hours, or health care, or pension—no clue! But all he knew is if we’re in the unknown area, we are going to side with the workers. Period, end of story. That’s how it works! [applause]
The rail workers just can’t seem to get a, uh, a good contract. They’re working five days a week, 16 hours a day. They have been for a long time. No quality of life, uh, for these workers. And so we’re here to help them and support them. And they haven’t had a raise, I think since like 2019.
Tom: We need more flexibility in our work schedules and we need to have time at home with our families. We need to have time at home to schedule doctor’s appointments, for birthdays, to be home for little league games. They have cut the forces, they’ve increased the demands on the workers, and it’s made it harder and harder to stay with a job that quite frankly most of us enjoy doing.
Greg Regan: We need to deliver a good contract for the freight rail workers who are currently, uh, you know, in negotiations. Some of the stuff we’re looking for, and it could be a two-person crew in the railroads, it could be flight attendant fatigue legislation or regulations. It could be transit worker assault prevention language. All these things, none of them are going to make the front page of the New York Times. I know that.
They’re not big and splashy issues, but they make a difference in hundreds of thousands of people’s daily work lives. And it makes them safer on the ground. And that’s where we can deliver for people. That is what being a pro-labor administration is delivering on those issues, because then people start to see what it means when you have workers’ backs.
Tim: The Senate doesn’t need another millionaire funded by a billionaire. The Senate needs somebody who comes from a place like Toledo, Ohio, or Youngstown, Ohio, so we can start taking care of workers again.
Videography by Dain Evans