Portman, Klobuchar Introduce Bipartisan Bill to End Cut to Railroad Unemployment Benefits

Published: Oct 28 2020 3:21PM

A bi-partisan U.S. Senate bill introduced Wednesday would eliminate the sequester on Railroad Retirement Board’s Unemployment insurance, increasing pay for qualified, out-of-work railroaders.

U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) are co-sponsors to Senate Bill 4860, which ends the sequester reduction to RRB unemployment payouts. It is expected to increase unemployment payments by almost 6 percent.

This bill is the direct result of the political action of our members. The BMWED – along with all other Rail Labor Unions – have worked on eliminating the unfair sequester restriction on our unemployment payments since 2011. It has been a long and often difficult endeavor. This is one example of why our Union remains active in politics.

We asked members this summer – in the midst of the pandemic – to call their senators, especially our Ohio members, because we saw an opportunity with Sen. Portman to gain some Republican support for the bill. It worked. However, we need to see this bill across the finish line.

It is likely S.B. 4860 will come up for vote in the “lame duck” session post-election. If we can get additional senators from both parties to co-sponsor the bill, making it clear that the legislation has bi-partisan support, the greater the likelihood it passes.

With that in mind, we ask our members – and all of rail labor – to again contact their U.S. Senators and request that they support and co-sponsor S.B. 4860. Its passage will result in more money for all unemployed railroaders from every road and craft.

The pandemic is still here and the threat of losing time from work because of exposure or contraction of the virus is real. This is important legislation for all railroaders, and we hope that – with everyone’s support – we can push it into law.

Solidarity forever!

Senator Rob Portman Press Release