Chicago Rail Workers Strike Against ‘Unfair Labor Practices’

By Emily Gray Brosious | Originally published at Gapers Block | Aug. 5, 2013

Rail Service workers at Bedford Park-based Mobile Rail Solutions walked off the job this past week and are picketing at Union Pacific’s Global 1 location in Chicago to protest recent firings, which organizers say were motivated by the workers’ push to unionize.

According to Chicago IWW, from July 26 through July 29, management at Mobile Rail Solutions, which operates specialized trucks to service locomotives in rail yards around the city, illegally fired three workers and is threatening more firings in retaliation for workers’ active unionizing efforts and recent OSHA filings.

The firings came just a month after Mobile Rail workers moved to organize under the Industrial Workers of the World Union, seeking redress for workplace safety and competitive wage and benefit issues.

In response to the company’s alleged union busting tactics and refusal to reform unlawful workplace practices, workers resorted to organizing an unfair labor practices strike to protect their livelihood and their right to vote for union representation. They are demanding a meeting with Mobile Rail’s general manager to address workplace safety violations, stop the illegal firings, and reinstate the three fired workers.

A majority of Mobile Rail workers have come to the picket line and organizers expect the strike to halt locomotive servicing at the company. IWW Mobile Rail Workers Union says work stoppage will continue until someone from Mobile Rail management meets with them. In the mean-time, workers have set up a strike fund at Indiegogo.

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