BNSF, CSX, Norfolk Southern, and Union Pacific announced embargoes on certain shipments earlier this week as the White House facilitated negotiations with multiple rail unions, culminating in eleventh-hour talks with Labor Secretary Marty Walsh. Although the White House did not reveal details, the current tentative framework includes a 24% pay increase between 2020 and 2024, which includes an average $11,000 retroactive payout, according to a statement from the Association of American Railroads.
During an episode of “The Ben Shapiro Show” that aired on Thursday, Shapiro noted that Democrats are by no means neutral actors in union negotiations.
“Biden has made it a high priority in the United States to boost unions. Why is he boosting unions? He’s boosting unions because unions support him,” he explained. “The biggest problem in American public life is not people who are pressing for the interests of their particular group in politics. That is the norm. The biggest issue in American public life is unions that sign actual contracts with the government of the United States, paying for the people who they are negotiating with to get elected.”
Indeed, Marty Walsh led the Laborers’ International Union of North America Local 223 before becoming mayor of Boston in 2014. The Laborers Union contributed $7 million to the Senate Majority PAC during the 2020 election cycle to aid Democratic candidates, according to data from Open Secrets.
“Democratic policymaking is a question of shifting the burden to somebody else — always,” Shapiro continued. “Your political allies get all the benefits, and your political enemies are the ones who receive all of the costs. You stick everybody else with the bill.”
Shapiro added that threats of a rail strike occurring weeks before the 2022 midterm elections was no coincidence. “The amount of damage that was likely to have been done if this railroad strike had happened would have been egregious,” he said. “Which meant that they had Joe Biden over a barrel.”
The economic cost of a nationwide rail shutdown would have amounted to $2 billion per day, according to a report from the Association of American Railroads — a reality that would have worsened existing supply chain bottlenecks driven by labor shortages and worldwide government lockdowns. Among other issues, inflationary pressures are a considerable liability for Democratic candidates across the country.
“Prior to an election, unions can hold up the Democrats at gunpoint, and the Democrats will just give away the store,” Shapiro explained. “That’s exactly what just happened with the railroads.”
Democrats have also worked with teachers unions as the nation’s schools attempted to phase out virtual instruction. Officials from the American Federation of Teachers suggested insertions to public health guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to findings from Republicans on the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis.
The most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress therefore showed reading scores for nine-year-olds plummeting five points and mathematics scores dropping seven points. “This is the largest average score decline in reading since 1990, and the first ever score decline in mathematics,” according to a report from the National Center for Education Statistics.