As September 16th Deadline Looms, Major Freight Railroads Prepare for Possible Strike Costing US Economy More than $2 Billion a Day
In an already fragile economy with inflation at 40-year highs, out of control government spending and broken supply chains, major freight railroads are preparing for a possible strike and service disruption as a September 16th deadline looms. The supply chain disaster under the Biden administration is poised to become even worse.
America’s freight railroads cover a nearly 140,000 mile network across 49 states. A strike would shutdown 7,000 Class I trains per day as well as disrupting passenger and commuter trains. Freight trains transport nearly every sector of our economy including agricultural, industrial, wholesale, retail and resource-based sectors.
The Association of American Railroads details the devastating impact on the economy if the strike proceeds.
Major freight railroads, in a bid to apply pressure on unions and Congress, say a strike that could come after a key deadline passes next week would cost the economy more than $2 billion a day and disrupt deliveries of all kinds of goods and passenger traffic nationwide.
The Association of American Railroads trade group on Thursday issued a report estimating the dire consequences of a strike. Their report came a day after Labor Secretary Marty Walsh took part in talks in a bid to hammer out an agreement.
A strike or lockout won’t be allowed until next Friday at the soonest under the federal law that governs railroad negotiations.
Five of the 12 unions involved that together represent some 115,000 workers have announced tentative agreements covering over 21,000 workers based on a set of recommendations that a special panel appointed by President Joe Biden made last month. But several key unions are holding out in the hope that the railroads will agree to go beyond those recommendations and address some of their concerns about working conditions.
Leaving things until the last minute, while he spends the summer falling off his bike and taking seemingly endless vacations, Biden made calls to union leaders and rail companies Monday to try to avert the looming catastrophe after emergency talks failed last week.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Monday called for urgent action to avoid a strike and a “national economic disaster.”
“A shutdown of the nation’s rail service would have enormous national consequences. It would lead to perishable foods such dairy, fruits, and vegetables spoiling at their points of origin, would halt Amtrak service … disrupt materials and goods being delivered to factories and ports, and would inhibit the transport of heating fuel and other important fuels and chemicals,” the Chamber said. “The costs of such a shutdown to the U.S. economy could come out to $2 billion per day.”
A railroad insider shared with TGP, “What they don’t talk about is that the raise will help us break even with Bidenflation and health insurance costs going up actually put us back in the negative. Another aspect is the quality of life situation that the negotiations have failed to remedy. We are call 27/7 365! No set schedule or holidays all while railroads furloughed employees during the scamdemic and the rest of us carried the slack providing record profits for the company. They like to throw numbers out there to make it look really good but in reality, if we were to keep pace with the rest of transportation, railroaders should be making about $175k. Most employees put in at least 30 years, I’m working on year 17 and 41. I still have 19 years left to get full retirement (60 years old and 30 years of service.) The are 40 and 50 year employees, which have sacrificed a lot of home life but no one realizes the importance of railroaders, not even the company.”