Railroad workers voice their demands at rally in Sparks

Published: Dec. 13, 2022 at 3:22 PM PST
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SPARKS, Nev. (KOLO) - Railroad workers in ten cities across the country made a point to speak out on Tuesday, and the Rail City was no exception.

“I think most railroad workers are in a state of demoralization,” said Engineer Ron Kaminkow, who showed up to Tuesday’s protest at Victorian Square.

Workers want to see the end of precision scheduled railroading, which has resulted in much longer trains - sometimes up to three miles long.

They are also fighting for paid sick leave.

Congress recently stepped in to avert a rail strike, but the legislation failed to include the request for paid sick leave because it didn’t get enough votes in the Senate.

“As of last week, a settlement has been mandated by the federal government,” explained Kaminkow. “As a result, we may see a mass exodus in the coming months.”

There is also a push to just have one person on a train, but workers say two are necessary. And while a federal law does not exist, it is not a concern in Nevada, as Governor Sisolak signed a law requiring two-man trains in Nevada.

Kaminkow says the root of the problem has been Wall Street’s influence over the railroad, taking whatever actions they can to increase short term profits.

“We should be moving 30% more freight than 16 years ago but in fact we are moving less,” he stressed.