CSX employees picket for better wages, health insurance

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – CSX workers picketed downtown Wednesday, demanding better wages, healthcare insurance and safety practices.

They’re upset, saying the company took a turn recently and started negotiating with multiple railroads. They claim carriers have profited at the hand of CSX employees.

“We’re hoping to get a fair deal,” union representative Perry Rapier said. “Were not exaggerating or being greedy by any stretch. We’re only asking for what we have right now. We have decent health care, we would like to keep that. And an equal wage compensation package that keeps up with inflation.”

Rapier says people are looking for job security, too, after rumors have swirled about job cuts at the company’s Avon plant. CSX recently laid off 50 people without any notice. He told CBS 4 that a lack of people in the field is leading to potential danger.

“Just a few months ago, we had a runaway car downtown,” Rapier said.

The CSX employees Rapier represents repairs train tracks and bridges. They also respond to derailments and spills. Some of the trains they work with carry hazardous materials. Without the proper amount of people to do the work, the union says there is a concern for community safety.

Workers want their insurance packages to stick around. Some people are worried imminent changes are coming and that their out-of-pocket expenses could double.

CSX sent CBS 4 a statement in August that said:

“We are making changes across the network to improve efficiency, safety and service to customers.”

When asked whether the company planned on overhauling or closing its Avon plant, CSX insisted there was no news to report.

Rapier said that if railroaders don’t get what they’re asking for, they will consider a strike.

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