Unions Railroading Florida’s Rail Project

Florida is right now at the vanguard of a new railroad project that could bring good news to those that care about solving bloated state budgets, common sense employment laws, and cutting the corruption that comes with unions by pushing for a non-union workforce with its proposed intrastate rail system. And the unions are incensed, naturally.

The new commuter deal would see the state buying 61.5 miles of CSX track, which would effectively sever that link from interstate commerce. Federal regulations require rail systems that cross state boundaries to employ union workers (and that is a law that should be overturned, too) but this new system would be entirely contained within the state of Florida. Since it is a intrastate project, this absolves Florida from being forced to employ a union workforce.

Additionally, the state is claiming that this is not a “railroad” project, but just another common transportation project and since the state of Florida is not forced to employ union workers on all transportation projects, it sees no reason to make an exception for the new commuter-rail line.

If Florida is successful at launching its new commuter-rail project free of the burdensome weight of unions upon it, this might be a precedent for other states to begin heading this way with other projects in the future.

Commuter-rail projects are universal money pits in every state, so to have Florida start off its ill advised new project without the crushing waste and expense of having to deal with union labor would at least start the project off with just that much less of the taxpayer’s money going to waste. This is a good thing, such as it is.

It goes without saying that unions are lining up to fight Florida’s efforts to deny them access to the purportedly bottomless wallets of Florida’s taxpayers. So, let us hope that Florida is successful in convincing its pols to dump the forced union contracts with its new rail deal. If Florida can do it, so can all the other states and this will be a foot in the door of eliminating pernicious union influence in our state governments at least where transportation projects go.

(Cross posted at TheUnionLabelBlog.com.)

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