Railroad freight traffic across the United States could come to a grinding halt July 18th if there isn’t an agreement on a labor contract between national rail carriers and their unions.
Thousands of rail workers are slated to walk off the job in protest if there isn’t progress on their labor contracts.
If that happens, everything that moves from point A to point B via rail will not be delivered.
The unions have worked without a contract since July 1, 2019.
“The two sides were forced into a 30-day “cooling off period” after failing to reach an agreement working through the National Mediation Board. The cooling off period prevents unions from striking or railroads from locking out their workers while they continue to negotiate,” the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.
“That cooling off period ends at midnight on July 18, and a coalition of unions could choose to go on strike at that point, said Sheet Metal Air Rail Transportation union president Jeremy Ferguson.”
U.S. President Joe Biden faces a deadline next week to intervene in nationwide U.S. railroad labor talks covering 115,000 workers, or open the door to a potential strike or lockout that could choke supplies of food and fuel https://t.co/nMgGasmWG9
— Reuters (@Reuters) July 12, 2022
Railroad freight traffic across the United States could come to a screeching halt July 18 if progress isn’t made on a labor contract between national rail carriers & their unions.
— SMART Nevada (@smartnvslb) July 8, 2022
SupplyChainWarning explained how Biden can intervene:
Fake president Joe Biden has the power to stop that from happening by appointing a three-member emergency board to investigate the situation and make recommendations to both sides.
The Railway Labor Act contains special provisions for these kinds of disputes, but they require an intervention by the White House.
“The union is not allowed to strike during the Presidential Emergency Board’s investigation,” reports explain.
A letter from SMART president Jeremy Ferguson reveals that the two main issues are wages and benefits. The railroads have proposed a 16 percent pay raise over a five-year period while the unions are pushing for a 36 percent increase, which accounts for inflation, productivity decreases, and increased demand for shipping ever since the Wuhan coronavirus (Covid-19) plandemic began.
While railroaders typically get paid what many would consider to be decent wages already, one must keep in mind the long, grueling hours they work as well as time spent away from family.
It is not a job that many are willing to do, which is why it pays more. But it no longer pays enough for many railroaders to continue doing it, at least not to the standards necessary.
“Railroaders do get paid well, but that is because they work so many hours,” said Chris Bond, a Fort Worth-based union official and rail engineer for BNSF.
Bond said his regular run from Fort Worth to Oklahoma City takes about 12 hours.
He is then usually forced to spend 12 to 16 hours in a hotel unpaid until he can catch another train run back to Fort Worth.
“We’re away from our families. We’re away from everybody,” Bond said.
“As for health benefits, the railroads want union workers to contribute more of their own money out of pocket rather than expect higher coverage. A trade group claims most railroad workers pay less than the national average for health care,” SupplyChainWarning noted.
There are also efforts to do away with the conductor position on trains, leaving the task up to just an engineer.
“Rail carriers have proposed doing away with the conductor position, arguing that new technology will allow the engineer to monitor and move a three-mile train by themselves,” reports explain.
This could be dangerous, though, as it is difficult for an engineer to monitor multiple engines remotely, especially under poor conditions or when potential obstacles block the way.