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Will a Nationwide Union Railroad Strike Put a Damper on This Holiday Season?

Posted on Monday, November 28, 2022
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by AMAC, John Grimaldi
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WASHINGTON, DC, Nov 28 — There’s still time to avert a railroad strike. The question is how you convince the unions to give up. The unions say that if they don’t get a deal, they’ll walk out on December 9.  Negotiations continue but management is prepping for a walkout that could cost us no less than $2 billion a day. 

As one unidentified union rail worker put to NBC, the cause of the strike threats is the greed of the rail companies. “It’s obvious their entire business model is set upon lowering the operating ratios and increasing profit margins with the end goal of boosting the stock price. It hurts the workers and the customers.” 

If the unions wind up on strike, Congress might intervene by voting in both houses to force workers to go back to work under the terms of the Railway Labor Act of 1926. President Biden would have to sign off on the legislation but, according to CNBC, “the pro-union president would be caught between angering union allies who want to be allowed to go on strike or risking the economic upheaval that the strike would cause.” In addition, there is a possibility that pro-labor Democrats might balk at using the Railway Labor Act to force workers to go back to work. But Ian Jefferies, CEO of the Association of American Railroads points out that “the goal of the Railway Labor Act was to reduce the likelihood of a work stoppage. And it’s been remarkably effective in doing that…I think all parties agree that a work stoppage or a shutdown of the network is not helpful to anybody involved,”

The last time there was a railway strike was in 1991. George H.W. Bush was president and Congress was controlled by Democrats. It took Congress less than 24 hours to force the unions to agree to a settlement. But, according to NBC, “Most observers are skeptical that Congress would do much more than force through a deal along the lines of what was already negotiated — without the paid sick time guarantee. But partisan rancor in Washington remains an unpredictable force and getting the necessary 60 votes in a nearly evenly split Senate is a tough ask.” In fact, in September Senators Roger Wicker [R-MS] and Richard Burr [R-NC] introduced legislation to prevent a strike but it was blocked.

Politico says it’s not likely that the unions and the railroads will find a solution for the dilemma, citing Jeremy Ferguson, president of the largest rail union, SMART-Transportation. Ferguson said “I’m hopeful, but I doubt it’s really in the cards. I’ve got a lot of issues that are outstanding; that are reasons why our guys voted it down.” He said he believes Congress will intervene before the December 9 deadline, “everybody’s ready to get it done”

However, if a strike cannot be avoided, the damage it would do to the nation is mind boggling and the impact on Americans across the board would be devastating. An Associated Press report suggests that making matters worse is a drought that has shut down waterways in the Midwest and it is exacerbating the situation limiting the ability of barges to move produce. The report quotes Josh Linville, the Vice President of Fertilizer for StoneX Financial Inc. who says, “While the barge crews, the coast guard, and everybody has done a phenomenal job of dredging the rivers, making sure they continue to float boats, the efficiency has been down tremendously. We are not able to move nearly as much per day.”

Other sources cited by CNN say that the economic impact of a strike will slow down and shutdown components of a wide ranging selection of products, calling it potential “self-inflicted economic disaster.

“I think it’s [the strike] highly likely…The union bosses basically forced their union members to buck up and accept this deal just to get them through the…midterm elections. But now we’re seeing the reality of it,” says Senator Bill Hagerty [R-TN], according to Townhall. “They only offered one additional work day — one additional sick day, I should say. The unions were asking for 15. That’s a big, big gap. Joe Biden declared victory, again, before the midterm elections. This was all, I think, part of the plan. But what we’re seeing now, the whole thing is coming unraveled and it’s going to be a real crisis, a $2-billion-a-day economic impact if you believe the economists’ estimates. I actually think it could be much greater, because if you look at the knock-on effects on supply chains, it will be significant.”

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David Millikan
David Millikan
1 year ago

This is ALL of DICTATOR Beijing biden’s FAULT.

PaulE
PaulE
1 year ago

Ultimately, the Biden administration will give the rail unions whatever they want. It is just a question of when the helicopter drops of cash begin. Team Biden has backed itself into a corner by making every decision a union referendum when it comes to labor. Look at how much money the Democrats showered on the teachers unions in every Covid relief bill. Literally billions of dollars to essentially keep a lot of schools closed and doing ineffective remote learning. The rail unions and every other major union in the country watched how that played out and now they will all want their big slice of the government funding pie, if they can get it.

Smike
Smike
1 year ago

From what I’m seeing, hearing and reading there is a lot of room for negotiations in this conflict that needs an obliterator. It appears that both sides are being hardnosed and I believe the workers in this case are much more deserving than management. My father worked for the railroad as an electrical machinist. It very hard and occasionally dangerous work. Unions lately have taken a bad rap. We need unions but unions too, need to be responsible and reasonable. Management has typically taken advantage of their employees. There’s a bottom line here for both parties. If both parties believed they got a raw deal then they have both won. Find the middle ground and let it be a lose/lose for both sides.

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
1 year ago

Its what Unions want IE Union Mgmt

Boz
Boz
1 year ago

Forget presents under the tree, worry about food and necessities. If trains stop, NO BUENO!

Douglas Wallace
Douglas Wallace
1 year ago

When I see articles citing Politico, AP, CNBC and CNN I immediately question it. Grimaldi, is this the best you can do? Shame.These sources are ran by left wing hack journos. Transportation corps will dictate to the regime and the walkout likely won’t happen.

Carol
Carol
1 year ago

Biden is going to go down as the president who destroyed America and the CCP will be dancing in the street as we move to become like them! It only took Venezuela 10 years to become part of the communist nations, and Biden is taking us there in less than 4! But it’s been building for a long long time! Frog is now being boiled!!!

Robin W Boyd
Robin W Boyd
1 year ago

Organized labor usually chooses times that will be most disruptive to citizens to strike in order to manipulate getting what they want. There is no place for organized labor in a free capitalist nation.

patriot
patriot
1 year ago

Fire them all and replace with National Guard and new workers. Rail workers are way overpaid already for what they do, sit their watching the scenery go by.

Frank
Frank
1 year ago

If Congress is to impose a contract then the solution should extract concessions that NEITHER side would be happy about. This would give both sides motivation to be honest brokers at the bargaining table in all industries in this nation of ours. With regard to capitalism in this nation, any firm that has a union shop on their property deserves it because they treated their labor like S___. It takes both capital and labor to benefit our society. I most certainly am NOT inclined to make the 1% in our society even more wealthy at the expense of those raising families.

NewDay
NewDay
1 year ago

Everyone needs a raise to keep up with Biden’s inflation but when we get a raise that adds to the inflation. Biden started this snowball and he has no idea how to stop it. (if he cares?)

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