Both business groups and politicians are concerned about the possible effects of the freight rail strike on the country’s supply chain over this coming holiday. The situation will be especially worrisome if they don’t manage to come to an agreement regarding the contract dispute.
The 30-day moratorium which has so far stalled the strike from starting is due to end on Friday for those who are members of the two largest U.S. freight rail unions, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, or BLET, and SMART Transportation Division. So far neither has managed to reach a deal with rail carriers, however, they are currently closer to reaching a tentative agreement with 10 of the 12 rail unions in the country.
A strike by BLET and SMART-TD, which together have 57,000 conductors and engineers and staff most two-person teams for trains, would cause problems in the economy. President Joe Biden and his senior administration officials have renewed their efforts to mediate the dispute. At the same time, Amtrack has canceled three long-distance train routes running on lines operated by freight railroads.
The two unions have said that the current scheduling practices will often leave workers on call 24/7 throughout the entire year. This remains a big part of the disagreement and detail that will need to be smoothed over before an agreement is reached.
An anonymous rail worker has spoken up on this saying that the scheduling issues were a large concern and it warrants a strike. He also said that decisions made by other companies recently have led them to believe that the public is now more willing to side with the workers.