In response to more than a decade of declining rail service in the United States, the cross-craft rail workers group Railroad Workers United (RWU) has called for public ownership of the railroad system. On October 6th, the RWU Steering Committee voted unanimously to approve a Resolution to this effect.
In a news release, the RWU says, “Since the North American private rail industry has shown itself incapable of doing the job, it is time for this invaluable transportation infrastructure – like the other transport modes – to be brought under public ownership. During WWI, the railroads in the U.S. were temporarily placed under public ownership and control. All rail workers of all crafts and unions supported (unsuccessfully) keeping the rail under public control once the war ended, and voted overwhelmingly to keep them in public hands. Perhaps it is time once again to put an end to the
profiteering, pillaging, and irresponsibility of the Class One carriers. “
“Railroad workers are in a position to take the lead,” according to RWU Steering Committee member and passenger conductor J.P. Johnson.” We can spearhead the drive for a rail renaissance in this country, one that is vibrant and expanding, innovative, creative and environmentally sustainable, one that can properly handle the nation’s freight and passengers in the 21st century.”