AOC, Ilhan Omar Flamed for ‘Smashing Rail Strike’

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) are being criticized online for voting to forcibly end a potential nationwide rail strike on Wednesday.

The House passed legislation yesterday that would force an agreement between the railway workers’ unions and management companies, utilizing a 1926 rule giving the government power to order tentative agreements between the country’s rail laborers and their managers.

The legislation—which passed 290-137 in the House—is headed to the Senate, where Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has all but guaranteed its passage. President Joe Biden is expected to sign the bill into law swiftly, averting a railroad strike that some experts estimate could cost the U.S. economy upwards of $1 billion in the first week.

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The bill passed by the House would provide railroad workers with 24% pay increases retroactive to 2020, immediate $11,000 payouts upon the legislation getting signed, and an extra paid day off. In a separate bill, the House approved a resolution to give workers seven days of paid sick leave instead of one, potentially giving railroad workers paid sick leave which they don’t currently have.

The legislation was met with backlash from the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, who said the agreement was “effectively halting our ability to strike.” 

“This should not be a political issue; this is an issue about protecting our Workers who ensure the nation’s rail infrastructure and supply chain function as best as possible,” the union said in a statement.

In a separate statement, the union called on Biden and any member of Congress who “truly supports the Working Class” to pass legislation that went further for workers.

In a tweet, Biden said the railroad strike would “hurl the U.S. into a devastating rail freight shutdown.”

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“Congress should get this bill to my desk as soon as possible so we can avoid disruption,” he said.

Users on Twitter were quick to criticize some progressive representatives who voted for the bill, turning their ire primarily against two beacons of the left-leaning branch of the Democratic Party: Omar and Ocasio-Cortez.

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“Ilhan Omar and AOC voted in favor of smashing the rail strike,” one user said.

Other liberal representatives were blamed for the vote and their betrayal of rail workers.

“AOC, Ilhan Omar, Ro Khanna, Jamaal Bowman, & Cori Bush ALL voted to impose the contract that rail workers rejected,” said Socialist Alternative, a leftist political party. “If the 7-sick-day resolution fails in the Senate, they’ll have done exactly what Biden did—betrayed workers in favor of the bosses.”

Other users called out AOC and members of her progressive “squad” for the performative nature of their leftism, given their history of falling in line with Democrats.

“Idk how AOC can ever show her face at a socialist event at this point,” they said.

“There’s no excuse for AOC and the like spending the last 2 days tweeting support for railroad workers in the face of legislation then voting to approve the contract against their will. None. Zero,” another user said.

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*First Published: Dec 1, 2022, 12:38 pm CST

Jacob Seitz

Jacob Seitz is a freelance journalist originally from Columbus, Ohio, interested in the intersection of culture and politics.

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