Rail Workers Urge Nationalization Amid Ohio Disaster

As the toxic aftermath of the major Norfolk Southern derailment plays out, Railroad Workers United calls for public ownership of a system beset with “profiteering, pillaging and irresponsibility.”

Drone footage of the freight train derailment on Feb. 3 in East Palestine, Ohio. (National Transportation Safety Board, Public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

By Jake Johnson
Common Dreams

An alliance representing rail workers across the United States has published an open letter urging all of organized labor to support the nationalization of the country’s railroad system, arguing that the private and inadequately regulated industry has “shown itself incapable of doing the job.”

“In face of the degeneration of the rail system in the last decade, and after more than a decade of discussion and debate on the question, Railroad Workers United (RWU) has taken a position in support of public ownership of the rail system in the United States,” reads the letter, which was published Thursday as the small town of East Palestine, Ohio is attempting to recover from the toxic derailment of a Norfolk Southern train two weeks ago.

[Related: The Crisis in US Railroads]

“We ask you to consider doing the same, and announce your organization’s support for rail public ownership,” said the letter, which was addressed to unions as well as environmental, transportation justice, and workers’ rights organizations. It went on:

“While the rail industry has been incapable of expansion in the last generation and has become more and more fixated on the operating ratio to the detriment of all other metrics of success, precision scheduled railroading (PSR) has escalated this irresponsible trajectory to the detriment of shippers, passengers, commuters, trackside communities, and workers.”

PSR is a Wall Street-backed model that has taken hold across the U.S. rail industry, gutting workforces and undermining safety in pursuit of more “efficiency” and larger profits for rail carriers and rich investors. Meanwhile, more than 1,000 of the nation’s trains derail every year.

In its open letter, RWU — whose ranks include workers from a number of different unions and rail professions — noted that “on-time performance is suffering” and “shipper complaints are at all-time highs” as rail carriers prioritize their profit margins over all else.

Norfolk Southern, which also owns the train that derailed outside of Detroit on Thursday, brought in record revenue and profits in 2022.

Headquarters of Norfolk Southern Railway in Atlanta. (JonahJackalope, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

“Passenger trains are chronically late, commuter services are threatened, and the rail industry is hostile to practically any passenger train expansion,” RWU’s letter states, adding:

“The workforce has been decimated, as jobs have been eliminated, consolidated, and contracted out, ushering in a new previously unheard-of era where workers can neither be recruited nor retained. Locomotive, rail car, and infrastructure maintenance have been cut back. Health and safety have been put at risk. Morale is at an all-time low.”

The alliance also pointed to the White House-brokered contract that Congress forced rail workers to accept last year as evidence of broader industry dysfunction. At the center of the contract negotiations — which nearly resulted in a nationwide strike — was the issue of paid sick leave, which is denied to most rail workers due to PSR.

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The solution, RWU contended, is to nationalize the rail industry, a step that would open the door to “a new fresh beginning for a vibrant and expanding, innovative, and creative national rail industry to properly handle the nation’s freight and passengers.” The organization is calling on allies to back its resolution supporting public ownership.

USRA ad promoting travel to California in a newspaper in Ogden City, Utah, Nov. 11, 1919. (USRA- Director General of Railroads – The Ogden Standard, Public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

“During WWI, the railroads in the U.S. were in fact temporarily placed under public ownership and control,” the open letter notes. “All rail workers of all crafts and unions supported (unsuccessfully) keeping them in public hands 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 1 carriers.”

The derailment and chemical spill in East Palestine have catalyzed discussions on how to prevent similar disasters from occurring in the future. Some, including environmental groups and progressive lawmakers, have implored the U.S. Transportation Department to take urgent measures to improve rail safety, including modernizing critical braking systems.

But others have sided with RWU in arguing that while narrow reforms may be necessary as near-term solutions, they ultimately won’t be enough to solve the rail industry’s deep flaws, which stem from the prioritization of ever-greater returns.

“We demand that Congress immediately begin a process of bringing our nation’s railroads under public ownership,” the general executive board of the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE) declared in a statement late last month, just days before the fiery crash in eastern Ohio.

[Related: Workers Furious Over Biden Move to Preempt Rail Strike and The Rap Sheet on US Rail Companies

“Railroads are, like utilities, ‘natural monopolies,'” UE said. “The consolidation of the Class 1 railroads in the U.S. into five massive companies over the past several decades has made it clear that there is no ‘free market’ in rail transportation.”

“Our nation can no longer afford private ownership of the railroads; the general welfare demands that they be brought under public ownership,” the union added.

Read RWU’s full open letter:

Dear Friends and Fellow Workers:

In face of the degeneration of the rail system in the last decade, and after more than a decade of discussion and debate on the question, Railroad Workers United (RWU) has taken a position in support of public ownership of the rail system in the United
States. (see Resolution attached). We ask you to consider doing the same, and announce your organization’s support for rail public ownership.

While the rail industry has been incapable of expansion in the last generation and has become more and more fixated on the Operating Ratio to the detriment of all other metrics of success, Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR) has escalated this
irresponsible trajectory to the detriment of shippers, passengers, commuters, trackside communities, and workers. On-time performance is suffering, and shipper complaints are at all-time highs. Passenger trains are chronically late, commuter services are threatened, and the rail industry is hostile to practically any passenger train expansion. The workforce has been decimated, as jobs have been eliminated, consolidated, and contracted out, ushering in a new previously unheard-of era where workers can neither be recruited nor retained. Locomotive, rail car, and infrastructure maintenance have been cut back. Health and safety have been put at risk. Morale is at an all-time low. The debacle in national contract bargaining last Fall saw the carriers ±after decades of record profits and record low Operating Ratios—refusing to make even the slightest concessions to the workers who have made them their riches.

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 in fact temporarily placed under public ownership and control. All rail workers of all crafts and unions supported (unsuccessfully) keeping them in public hands 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 1 carriers. Railroad workers are in a historic position to take the lead and push for a new fresh beginning for a vibrant and expanding, innovative, and creative national rail industry to properly handle the nation’s freight and passengers.

Please join us in this historic endeavor. See the adjoining RWU Resolution in Support of Public Ownership of the Railroads, along with a sample Statement from the United Electrical (UE). If your organization would like to take a stand for public ownership of the nation’s rail system, please fill out the attached form and email it in to RWU. We will add your organization to the list. Finally, please forward this letter to others who may be interested in doing the same. Thank you!

In solidarity,

The RWU Committee on Public Ownership

Jake Johnson is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

This article is from  Common Dreams.

The views expressed in this article and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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46 comments for “Rail Workers Urge Nationalization Amid Ohio Disaster

  1. Joe Wallace
    February 20, 2023 at 14:47

    My untrained eye is alarmed by the video of a train slowly, shakily making its way along those decrepit railroad tracks near Cecil, Ohio. Of course, I’m just a layman, neither an “expert” nor a “trained observer” in the pay of a railroad or a regulatory oversight board, so my observations can’t be trusted.

  2. Vera Gottlieb
    February 19, 2023 at 10:44

    “Killer Kapitalism” and little does it matter who the ‘bodies’ belong to.

  3. J Anthony
    February 19, 2023 at 09:46

    I understand people are hesitant to support publicly-owned anything, as we still have the same criminally-negligent oligarchy & their puppets in-charge, but first we change who is in-charge, then nominate heads-of-public-committees or what-have-you. The main point is to put an end to for-profit railroad, then we deal with the details?

  4. Maloyo
    February 19, 2023 at 07:24

    Pepe Escobar has an article at The Cradle on the recent meeting between presidents Raisi and Xi to sign agreements related to their 25 year planned partnership for technological/infrastructure development. Iran becoming part of China’s high speed cargo rail network is mentioned.

    Meanwhile, the US turned over its rail to private ownership, now busily extracting profit until there is nothing left to consume. All our transportation infrastructure dollars go to the federal interstate highway system, clogged with big rigs burning diesel. And the private vehicles of everyone traveling within distances to close to fly, but perfect for the passenger rail we no longer have.

    A side note, when the KC Chiefs held their championship parade, it ended in front of Union Station. Thankfully, the building was saved and restored for shops, restaurants, exhibition spaces, etc. Amtrack has a small station to the side. Lots of historical photos are displayed showing the station when passenger rail was how people traveled; the architecture is beautiful. I like to visit, but always feel a bit melancholy over what we lost/gave up.

  5. February 19, 2023 at 01:22

    How ironic that the mighty US of A calls Africa a sh!thole when their rail road system is just as bad here in SA.

  6. Casey Jones
    February 19, 2023 at 01:03

    Modern Unions like this trick.

    First, the proposal is deader in the water than a Chinese weather balloon in Joe Biden’s Washington. Can anyone imagine anyone in the Democrats supporting the nationalization of a critical industry? Anyone at all? Every Democrat would order the F-22’s into the air to shoot down this dangerous threat to ‘vital American interests’, which is how they all describe Wall Street. The word “Nationalization” would scare them to death.

    Second, it diverts attention and energy away from the real fight into a distraction. The real fight is the same as it ever was … the Workers against the Bosses.

    You see this a lot from modern Unions. They don’t want to fight the fight that they need to fight and are supposed to fight. So, they create a fantasy fight to substitute instead.

  7. Charley B.
    February 19, 2023 at 00:39

    And, it was of course Representative and Senator Joe McCarthy and the Communists-Are-Under-The-Bed Crowd who saw Commies everywhere in the 1950’s. You are not exactly referencing a shining moment in the history of Freedom and Democracy in America.

  8. Laccagg
    February 18, 2023 at 18:11

    It won’t make any difference if the same people are in charge. The government right now has the power to regulate and enforce laws–it’s simply unwilling to do it. If rail was nationalized, the government would have the same power, and the same unwillingness. There would be no discernable change. Buttigieg would still be as lazy and incompetent. Biden would still desire to screw over rail workers. Same for their GOP counterparts, new blood, and so on. So IMO the letter should say:

    1. We implore rail workers to refuse to vote for any Democrat or Republican who has proven to be an enemy of theirs. This includes Trump, Biden, Harris, Pence, Pelosi, McConnell, basically 95% of politicians. If you must vote, consider third party. But you don’t have to vote, and certainly not reflexively for any particular party or politician. You’re their employer and they must prove to you that they deserve the job. If they’re already known to be awful at it, why would you want to hire them?

  9. CaseyG
    February 18, 2023 at 17:30

    While no one was looking, the PREAMBLE was rewritten:

    “We the corporations of the United States, in order to form a more profitable response, to establish great funding for CEOs, and that truly makes a most profitable union for some. Justice? Oh no there was a writing error, there is no justice, it’s ,” just us,” the corporations! INSURE the corporations from harm and “domestic tranquility is the workers problem! WE do provide for the COMMON DEFENSE as the military and military companies have so many ways to kill us all! We do , “support the general welfare, ” and it’s not our fault if so many are uneducated. “Support the general welfare…” hmmm . Why—- Promote the corporate welfare— if the people are too stupid to notice what we the corporates are doing? WE the corporates are in charge—don’t forget that—-but we do get to secure the blessings of Liberty—but please—that takes money which so many do not have—so remember..” To the victor go the spoils.” ————–Yep that pretty much lets us , own those who insist on saying , ” we the people.” ——————-sorry fellow Americans , you don’t seem to count for much anymore. : (

  10. bardamu
    February 18, 2023 at 15:01

    It’s an interesting proposition.


    1. Certainly railways are a reasonable candidate for control by a broad entity, since they must cross civic and county and state boundaries, and probably should cross national boundaries.
    2, Certainly also the “privatized” model, with public utilities refashioned and run to bloat corporate larders. has failed.
    3. An actual railway system for both freight and human passengers would be an excellent and logical direction for federal funds

    Cons –

    Government administration of anything only becomes “public” insofar as the government represents the public. Are any of us willing to argue that this significantly remains in the US in 2023? In our current context, then nationalizing an industry does not accomplish public control. You only change the administrative structure and switch oligarchs, if that.


    What about a non-profit and non-aligned workers’ organization taking over the administration instead? Is there a real path to the administration of such a thing?

    • SH
      February 18, 2023 at 19:13

      ” ….insofar as the government represents the public.”
      Yup, so why do we the people keep electing Gov.ts that don’t “represent the public”?
      I have been asking this question for eons and never get an answer that cannot be challenged …

    • Eddy Schmid
      February 18, 2023 at 23:20

      A railway to carry Freight and Passengers is not economical, or from an engineering point of view, practical. Especially with the loads being carried today and the length of trains. Tracks are engineered to specific angles and grades to cater for designed speeds and loads. Thus a heavy freight track could not be practical for passenger traffic, as speeds are faster, and trains lighter thus the wear on track and flanges is contradictory of the design the tracks been built for. Also, tracks need REGULAR MAINTENANCE, especially if they carry heavy loads, long trains and higher speeds, this means no freight can utilise them whilst the maintenance is being carried out, thus loss of profits which companies are loath to swallow. I’ve spent the better part of my life, driving trains in Australia, and am appalled at the condition American railways operate, and the conditions they force upon their workers. I saw at first hand, with Gennesee Wyoming, who purchased sections of track in my State when things were privatised. They tried to introduce the U.S. way of running a railroad here in Australia. Ask them today, how that worked out for them.

  11. Carolyn L Zaremba
    February 18, 2023 at 14:34

    China, Japan, and Germany all outdo the United States in their railroad structure.

    • Rafael
      February 19, 2023 at 02:07

      and many many others, with special mention for the amazing Swiss system.

    • robert e williamson jr
      February 19, 2023 at 15:22

      If we actually had a true representative form of government things might be much better for everyone, including the rail industry

      Ms. Zaremba has made a statement here that speaks volumes. If rail roads in the U.S. mirrored those in China , Japan, and Germany this country would be much better off.

      So here we go! I found these three site all great info in just a few seconds. They are informative, interesting and relevant, which is more that I can say for one too many comments here calling for the dissolution of rail workers unions.


      This is the largest of the three files but over half is charts of stats, big print. Very , very informative, you must have at least a look, massive info.


      Short and to the point great information for all, even the union haters wh must love Warren & Co., You don’t want to miss this one! Remember it’s short an to the point!


      This one is short, easy to read, filled with info and done by Jim Blaze, don’t let his resume fool you!! Jim like to focus on the contrarian aspects of the rail road industry. 21 years with CONRAIL – 17 years with rail engineering firm Zeta Tech Associates – 7 years with the State of Illinois Department of Transportation, urbans goods movement research, 2 year studying what to do with 7 bankrupt northeastern railroads at the feds USRA, now writing and teaching. Really great stuff looking out 10-30 years.

      It helps tremendously to understand at least some crucial aspects of railroading you have a chance here to learn and source for more info on what might be the savior of our country one day, but never while the private sector calls the shots.

      As you can see here Mr. Vail those private sector companies haven’t done such a great job running their business, in spite of their massive lobby. Maybe you would like to move to East Palestine Ohio, Bubba!

      FYI Lee, I case you haven’t hard the rail unions have lost their right to strike, no striking power, no union power, got that!

      Now for extra points on the quiz, anyone know what the term Gandy Dancer refers to ?

      Thanks CN

      Shit, I know Lee will cheat,! A gandy dancer is a slang term used in the early days of Rail-roading in the U.S. to describe or refer to section hands who laid the ties and track and kept up maintenance on the tracks and switching equipment.

      Very early the companies used Black and Chinese workers for this killer work. Chinese, especially, were uses as “powder monkeys”m those who carried and used explosives needed to build those early railways.

      Have a nice day, “All aboard!”

      • robert e williamson jr
        February 20, 2023 at 11:33


        Sorry about going off the rails there!

  12. JonnyJames
    February 18, 2023 at 14:10

    This should be obvious to most by now: public utilities should be in the public domain and accountable to the public. Instead, we have a criminal oligarchy that is not accountable to “the law”.

    Energy, education, postal service, health – care, railroads and banking are just some of the natural monopolies that should be nationalized and publicly owned.

    Another example: PGand E (Pacific Gas and Electric, aka Pacific Graft and Extortion) has asset-stripped the electrical and gas infrastructure for decades. Their criminal negligence has resulted in pipeline explosions, oil spills, and sparking many of California’s worst wildfires. This has resulted in the deaths of many people over the last 15 years or so.

    No criminal charges were made by the CA Atty Gen. The Oligarchy is Above the Law (Too Big To Fail Monopoly) Instead PG&E has been allowed to raise rates to the point where electricity costs almost DOUBLE what the rest of the country pays. The so called PUC is staffed by former energy company execs, including PGE execs.

    Also the Insurance Mafia has used these fires as an excuse to radically raise insurance rates and not to write homeowners policies. Allstate, for example, will not write policy ANYWHERE in California, period. The insurance racket should also be in the public domain. Just check and see how much the Insurance Mafia pay their senior management.

    The institutional corruption is so rife, PGE paid their CEO $53 million for one year’s “compensation”.

    But this is not “newsworthy” to the conflict-of-interest Mass Media Cartel.

    • SH
      February 18, 2023 at 19:16

      “Instead, we have a criminal oligarchy that is not accountable to “the law”.”
      So who is making these laws? How did they get to be “lawmakers”? Did we have anything to do with it?

      • JonnyJames
        February 19, 2023 at 11:05

        Look up the word “oligarchy”. You still believe we have a functioning democracy, even loosely defined? How quaint.

  13. shmutzoid
    February 18, 2023 at 12:32

    Biden is hostile to working people, period. Not only did he singlehandedly prohibit rail workers right to strike, but, now see that his DOJ has joined with rail company owners in a case before the Supreme Court that’d severely restrict where a plaintiff could file a lawsuit against a rail company for injury. That’s where things are at in this dystopian hell hole of capitalism.

    Of course transportation should be nationalized. Banking. Health care. Energy,——> also should be run as public utilities, for starts.

    • SH
      February 18, 2023 at 19:17

      Yup, so who put these folks in office?

      • J Anthony
        February 19, 2023 at 09:42

        A combination of rich plutocrats got them there, a gullible part of the public gives them a shield of (slight) credibility with their votes?

      • JonnyJames
        February 19, 2023 at 11:11

        “put these folks in office” You must live in an ivory tower.

    • Eddy Schmid
      February 18, 2023 at 23:26

      Quote, “Not only did he singlehandedly prohibit rail workers right to strike,” Unquote. There is no way, any so called “law” can prevent anyone from withdrawing their labor. What exactly are the authorities going to do, when all the railroad workers of several states or even the whole country, withdraw their labor ??????????? Lock them all up ????? How will this work out ???? What facility do they have that could house so many people ??? How will the system function, without these workers doing their tasks ,because they have been arrested and locked up ???? Wouldn’t that, in of itself, compound the withdrawal of labor ????? American people really need to grow a pair, and stand up to their criminal Govt.

  14. Daryl Rush
    February 18, 2023 at 12:25

    This country is so embedded in crony capital that any dream embedded in the words of our constitutional dream has increasingly dimmed since its inception.
    That dream, inception inspired so much but has experienced nothing by co-option since that beginning, dimming light to possibly a snuffed out candle.
    We cannot have anything, not even a rail system we can be proud of.
    We are ourselves colonial property of capital.

    • SH
      February 18, 2023 at 19:22

      I refuse to be anybody’s “property” – we could have a lot more, if we would use the ballot box to put decent, honest, non-corp controlled people in office (read no D/Rs) – they are out there, but we don’t vote for them …

  15. Jeff Harrison
    February 18, 2023 at 12:05

    Sadly, of course, this will never happen. As some food for thought, the US/Americans think that we’re exceptional, the greatest thing since pizza and canned beer, and besides that our shit doesn’t stink. But do the results show that? China has, hands down, the finest high speed rail network in the world and their idea of high speed is about twice as fast as our one and only ‘high speed’ rail connection, the accela. They’re closely followed by Japan and Europe. Even the Indian subcontinent and South America have better rail service than the US. At some point we need to realize that private enterprise, great as it is, is not a panacea for everything.

    • SH
      February 18, 2023 at 19:25

      So why won’t it happen? Could it be because we keep putting the same folks, the duopoly, in office? Every election is like Groundhog Day …

  16. February 18, 2023 at 11:42

    It is unfortunate that there has never been a coherent national policy for ground transport as there once was for air transport. In particular, rail transport policies were left almost entirely to the railroad executives and otherwise ignored by our government until passenger service degenerated to the point of unprofitability and the industry begged the government to take it over. Even after taking over passenger service, the government did little to improve service and even less to modernize it. While European countries, Japan, China and others have invested heavily in modern high speed passenger rail service, the U.S. has languished behind. Japanese and Chinese trains can travel at speeds up to 200 mph and many European trains can travel faster than 150 mph while most U.S. trains are lucky to be travel at 60 mph. Even the acclaimed Acela is limited to slow speeds over significant portions of track.

    There is no good reason for airplanes being the dominant mode of passenger transport between major cities on the east coast. Airline service could easily have been replaced with rail service along the eastern seaboard that would get passengers to their destinations quicker, using far less fuel and with far less hassle if we had simply invested the money in it instead of squandering it on airline subsidies (and, of course, destructive and otherwise useless weapons).

    It’s not just time to nationalize all rail service, but it’s past time to rethink our national transportation priorities and develop an intelligent and comprehensive policy to govern planning, funding and rebuilding our transportation infrastructure.

  17. Anna Schneider
    February 18, 2023 at 11:24

    Nationalizing the reailroads just means we tax payers will be on the hook for disasters like this. Tell me what gov agency is less corrupt? Industry will still be in control like they are of everything else with a veneer of gov oversite. CDC, FDA!!!

    • JonnyJames
      February 18, 2023 at 15:24

      Not “government” but PUBLIC oversight. Big difference. Otherwise, bow down to the criminal oligarchy. Please don’t repeat right-wing nonsense here, we can get that by watching TV

    • shmutzoid
      February 18, 2023 at 17:49

      Nationalizing the railroads just means the profit motive is removed. In its zeal for ever expanding profits, private corporations cut corners and downgrade all aspects of the operation, from safety measures to working conditions for employees. In EVERY industry! ……Rail companies just happen to be one the most, if not THE most profitable industry. The staggering profits are directly related to the profit motive and subsequent increase is rail disasters.

      With this recent disaster in Ohio, the rail company skirted the law by simply not including on the manifest some of the most toxic/dangerous material it was hauling. Nice, huh? …….You really think that’d be happening if rail service were run as a public utility??

      …….Run as a public utility, rail service would be safer , less expensive with better working conditions for employees. Shame on you for ignoring this basic distinction and blithely accepting the right-wing talking point about gov’t. I guess Reagan made sense to you when he sarcastically mocked gov’t. with the put-down,” I’m here from the gov’t. and I’m here to help”

    • SH
      February 18, 2023 at 19:27

      So why to we keep voting for corrupt pols who staff these agencies?

  18. J Anthony
    February 18, 2023 at 11:14

    It’s about damned time. Support the RWU on this.

  19. J Anthony
    February 18, 2023 at 11:09

    It’s about damned time. Let’s do it.

  20. mp.schaefer
    February 18, 2023 at 10:50

    What does RWU thinks that will accomplish? You see it seems that government and big rail bed together. Can you imagine the likes of Bittigieg and fjb and congress in charge? They are the problem. Your government already has the power to fix this and they in fact via their forced labor agreement are part of the problem. Dewine had phone calls with NS ceo which I find utterly disturbing.

    • SH
      February 18, 2023 at 19:29

      But we keep making that bed when we keep putting these folks in office …

  21. Art Costa
    February 18, 2023 at 10:19

    My sense, given where things are, any nationalization will be a public-private partnership. In the end Blackrock/Vanguard will (continue to) be the recipient of hundreds of billions of dollars (much like the CARES Act that brought them trillions).

    Look at the so-called Medicare for All – private insurance will soon replace the government Medicare/Medicaid programs with advantage/Part C.

    My last remark on this is, what makes anyone think nationalization will automatically fix this situation. We’re told 1,000 of these derailments happen annually?

    What I do think we need is a thorough independent investigation of this whole incident. This should start with the entire rail enterprise for shipping hazardous waste, why this overload could not stop, short of derailment, and in a local community, and why it was necessary to explode the entire shipment, to prevent…what exactly? FEMA hasn’t responded, last I know no state of emergency for OH was declared. Yet this kind of toxic waste and chemical movement is much, much worse than even this horrible tragedy. We are suffocating in chemicals. A Swiss research team in 2021 determine that over NINE MILLION people die each year of chemical exposure.

    • SH
      February 18, 2023 at 19:34

      We don’t have M4A – that’s the problem – we have a program that is slowly but surely being privatized under the auspices of both D and R parties .
      You are correct, these “public private partnerships” leave the “private” in the dough and the “public”, we the people, in the frying pan ….

  22. Piotr Berman
    February 18, 2023 at 10:17

    You can find implicit endorsements of nationalization in such Communist publications like Bloomberg. After all, what railroads do and do not do affects almost all corporations (hence Bloomberg articles) and entire public. And it is not just the fact that there are ca. 1700 derailments annually. “A total of 4,965 people died in large-truck crashes in 2020. The number of deaths decreased 1% from 2019 but is still up 31% since 2011.” USA depends too much on trucking, increasing fatalities, fuel consumption, road congestion and pollution etc. Largely because railroad company have the strategy of increasing profit margin instead of profits. A weird aspect of modern capitalism.

    For example, largest ports excessively rely on trucks for unloading, and when there was a disruption in the rhythm of ship arrivals, the entire logistic chain in USA was affected, with shortages of almost everything. Additional investments needed to increase the capacity would pay off, but the margin of that profit does not satisfy railroad companies. And there is another thing, with smoothly operating ports, trucks would not have to wait for many hours, so they could participate in unloading at lower rates, decreasing the rates that railroad could demand. This is a speculation, but for business point of view, barely sufficient capacity leads to better prices and thus profit. And that invariably means that periodically the capacity is insufficient. (One can provide examples with electricity etc.)

    So at least 40% of container traffic in LA is moved by trucks through the agglomeration, not so good for the quality of life there, and not good at all for the resiliency of the supply chains.

    More widely, there is a need for timely delivery at large distances, perhaps faster than 25 mph, and that is provided by trucks because for railroads it would require (a) investments, extra tracks, extra people, extra capacities of all kinds to provide timeliness (b) entering a market with competition, (oh, my poor profit margins :-( , I cannot do anything so cruel to you! ). Hence Bloomberg articles. And this is where extremely tired truckers come from, causing accidents. That is a related story, chasing profit margins in trucking industry and consequences. But trucking relies on public investments in roads, so regulations are the sufficient tools. However, regulations will not lead to proper investments in railroads.

  23. Lee Vail
    February 18, 2023 at 10:06

    The union needs to be busted up as all Communist organizations should be busted up.

    • JonnyJames
      February 18, 2023 at 15:27

      Thank you Joe McCarthy. Newsflash: the USSR has been gone for over 30 years. Communist? This aint the 1950s.
      If you were being sarcastic, thanks for the laughs!

  24. Me Myself
    February 18, 2023 at 08:46

    That was the least expensive way to dispose of these chemicals.
    An accident on purpose!

  25. TP Graf
    February 18, 2023 at 06:27

    It has never made any sense to me that these rail companies own the rails. Under than premise a couple big trucking companies ought to own all the roads and charge us to use them–when convenient to them. Safety, passenger rail service and innovation have no place in this ludicrous “precision scheduling” scheme concocted to sound good and pay big to exec’s and shareholders while screwing its employees, customers and the communities they pass through. Alas, to think Congress and Biden will do anything about it is as hopeless as thinking we’ve learned that our waring and sanction madness have served us well.

    • SH
      February 18, 2023 at 19:37

      True, they won’t do anything, so why don’t we put folks in office who will?

    • shmutzoid
      February 19, 2023 at 02:12

      Actually, states around the country HAVE privatized roads/tollways as a way to offset budget shortfalls. Long term leases have been awarded to companies in Europe to administer thousands of miles of highways in the US constructed with taxpayer money. Tolls go up, service goes down. Public complaints are legendary. …………….. If the air be breathe could be commodified, some ‘public/private’ partnership surely would impose a ‘pay-to-live/breathe’ plan.

      Does anyone think if the USPS were privatized we’d see better and less costly service?? Does anyone really think access to medical care is more equitable and less expensive now than if we had Medicare for All?? Ha. Gimme’ a break.
      —–i’m seeing some politically low consciousness remarks on this thread. Sorta’ like how right wingers talk about public education as ‘government run schools’. We need MORE socialism, LESS privatization.

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