President Joe Biden is in Boston today to attend a fundraiser for Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock. The president also stopped by the John F. Kennedy Library this afternoon to meet with Prince William, who's wrapping up his own trip to the city.
Outside the library, a couple hundred activists, including some freight and commuter rail workers, gathered to protest the president's decision to sign a bill that forced a labor deal on railroad workers to avert a rail strike.
"It's a concessionary agreement," Nicholas Wurst, a freight train conductor for CSX in Massachusetts, told GBH News. "It contains a tax on jobs, on our health care, and it was voted down by the majority of railroad workers."
He said most freight rail workers are penalized for taking time off if they are sick, that pay raises under the new contract — which amounts to less than 5% a year — does not match inflation, and that workers can be forced to work under unsafe conditions.
"Congress has basically decided that our opinions don't matter," Wurst said, "and that we need to keep working under the conditions that have led this industry into such a mess to the point where it threatens the national economy."
Chuck Abbate, who works for Keolis commuter rail, also came out to the protest to express his disappointment in Biden.
"Come to your senses and give them a fair contract," Abbate said. "Quite frankly, he shouldn't be involved in this. ... I thought he was better than that. I'm quite disappointed with him. I hope he kind of has a change of heart about this."