The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Railroad uses Patriot Act to terrorize workers

Jan 8, 2007

In the weeks before Christmas, a subcontractor for CSX Rail fired many long-time employees because they had felony convictions prior to being hired. At least 70 were reported fired, most from CSX yards in the Chicago area, but some also in Texas and California.

All fired workers had long since served their time before being hired by CSX, in one case, 11 years ago! One fired worker had just returned from military duty in Iraq! No worker was known to have any disciplinary problems, and many were outstanding workers.

The contractor, H&M International, claimed that the Patriot Act required such firings. But it does not!

Added to the injustice was the fact that almost all fired workers were black, and the felonies cited were charges for possession of drugs or unlicensed guns. Did H & M deliberately “overlook” similar records of the rest of its workforce?

Or did this simply reflect the reality, that the black community is selectively targeted for heavy drug enforcement in the first place, while drug users in white neighborhoods are winked at and passed over? For in fact thepercentage of drug use in society is the same across racial lines. It’s only the enforcement that discriminates.

If a person has paid their “debt” to society – in these cases, a discriminatory “debt” that others escape! – having paid their “debt,” are they free of it, or not?

Not according to bosses like H&M and CSX! No, payment never stops – they hold it over a worker’s head the whole rest of their life. Never mind that the laws say that paid is paid. If you are a big boss, you write your own laws.

The bosses, the real lawbreakers, never have to pay any of their “debt!” Not unless they are brought up short, by enough people who are mad enough and bound to collect.