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Iowa labor union rips Union Pacific railroad for denying vets time off under state law

DES MOINES - An Iowa labor union ripped the Union Pacific railroad for denying vets time off under state law.

DES MOINES – An Iowa labor union ripped the Union Pacific railroad for denying vets time off under state law.

Charlie Wishman

Charlie Wishman, President of Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, sent the following statement accusing the Union Pacific railroad of denying veterans time off as required under state law:

Veteran’s day is Friday, November 11th. In order to honor prior armed service members, Iowa passed a law requiring Veteran employees’ time off requests in advance for this day. The law allows companies to cancel this arrangement, with ten days notice under certain circumstances.

Union Pacific Railroad prides itself as a veteran friendly employer. However, true to form, and in line with quality of life issues railroad workers have been fighting for, Union Pacific Railroad chose to notify veterans earlier this week with less than the 10 day required notice that veterans who requested prior approval would be denied that time off.

Railroad worker quality of life and morale in the nation’s freight rail system are at lows, and nationally workers have been negotiating at the bargaining table for time off without discipline, adequate staffing, paid health care, and improved quality of life. To ensure safe and reliable freight rail service, incredibly profitable Class-I rail carriers like Union Pacific need to step up and deliver for their employees.

Most railroad operating craft employees are on call 24/7 with little if any scheduled time off. The carless cancellation of Veterans Day time off for employees, without adequate notice as specified by Iowa law, is emblematic of the way railroads have been treating employees. To see this fall upon Veteran employees in blatant disregard for Iowa Law is disappointing but not unexpected. It’s time for Union Pacific to follow Iowa State Law and honor our Veterans as intended by state lawmakers.

Here is a link to the law: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/code/91A.5A.pdf

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