Russian war, corporate greed and rail carrier policies that disrupt supply chains are key factors behind rising prices
Brothers and Sisters,
We’ve all experienced the bruising effects of rising inflation in recent months, from high grocery store bills to extreme prices at the pump. Contrary to the talking points of anti-labor politicians, this is not a result of rising wages or corrective boosts to our nation’s economy. Russian aggression and the war’s subsequent impact has pinched global food and oil supply chains, and that has only been exacerbated by the actions of CEOs hell-bent on squeezing every last cent from consumers’ pockets. For example: The last time the price of oil was $118 per barrel —which was the price in early June — gas cost $3.83/gallon at the pump. This time around? An inexcusable national average of $5/gallon.
To make things worse, railroad CEOs — who have refused for years to offer our railroad members a fair contract — continue to implement anti-worker policies that drive higher inflation.
To make things worse, railroad CEOs — who have refused for years to offer our railroad members a fair contract — continue to implement anti-worker policies that drive higher inflation. By continuously cutting the labor force and relentlessly pursuing Precision Scheduled Railroading, the major carriers have caused more and more disruptions to our nation’s supply chain — which means delays and higher prices for ordinary people.
We know what it takes to handle inflation. We need higher wages to meet the cost of living. We need a supply chain that prioritizes the workers who keep goods running from coast to coast. We need to manufacture and build American, so that we aren’t held captive by global events.
Thanks to legislative achievements like the bipartisan infrastructure bill and a surge of upcoming mega projects, SMART members have an extraordinary amount of work in the pipeline.
That being said, we need to pay close attention to the politicians who fight for us, versus those who only pay us lip service. The last administration and its allies said they were on our side, then turned around and tried to gut our apprenticeship programs and pensions. With the current administration and Congress, we’ve been able to get pro-labor legislation passed — such as Project Labor Agreements on federal projects over $35 million and huge investments in public transit — and we are confident that we can push for more, like the passage of the PRO Act. Chip plant manufacturing, the majority of which was performed overseas, is now coming home, with massive new plants breaking ground in places like New York, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas.
Elections matter, as do our votes; this November, I urge you to only reward candidates who walk the walk for SMART members.
SMART General Secretary Treasurer
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