The threat of a railroad strike returns just before the holidays as the nation’s largest rail conductor union voted to reject its latest offer.
SMART Transportation Division (the union that represents the railroad conductors) announced Monday’s results and stated that negotiations could continue until December 8, in order to avoid a strike.
“Honestly, this vote is about the frustration that the railroads have created with [their attendance policies] and the deterioration of quality of life as a result for our conductors,”The Washington Post was informed by Jared Cassity (SMART Transportation’s national legislative director).
“It’s about attendance policies, sick time, fatigue, and the lack of family time. A lot of these things that cannot be seen but are felt by our membership. It’s destroying their livelihoods,”He concluded.
The union vote was dominated by the attendance policy. Union workers were also offered a 24% increase in their pay by 2024, as well as updates to workers’ healthcare records. Workers could go on strike if Congress does not intervene or an agreement is reached before the deadline.
Rep. Rick Crawford, a Republican from Arkansas who sits on the House subcommittee for railroads, spoke against a possible union strike.
“Look, what a terrible Christmas gift that would be to give to the American people at this point. Right before Christmas, shutting down our supply chain,”Crawford spoke to Politico “So we’ve got something prepared if necessary, but I’m hoping it’s not necessary.”
According to the Association of American Railroads, a national shutdown of railroads would result in an economic loss of at least $2B per day. A strike can also have major consequences, other than rail.
“A single container or trailer on a railcar can contain 2,000 UPS packages, tens of thousands of bananas or hundreds of flat-screen televisions. A rail shutdown would slow or halt these shipments,”It was stated in the AAR.
The Daily Wire has previously reported on the rejection of the Biden administration proposal of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division of the Teamsters. (BMWED) represents close to 12,000 railroad employees. This group rejected an agreement between railroaders & Class I freight railways.
A second report was previously written about a railroad union which rejected the Biden administration’s labor agreement. The Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS) voted overwhelmingly to reject the labor deal in a vote, the union said in a statement. This union represents over 6,000 railway workers.
“For the first time that I can remember, the BRS members voted not to ratify a National Agreement, and with the highest participation rate in BRS history,” union president Michael Baldwin said in a statement on the union’s website.
In September, railroad companies and labor unions struck the tentative agreement. Under Labor Secretary Martin Walsh, the Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) negotiated the deal.
John Riggolizo helped to create this report.
The full article is available here here