Filed Under: Politics

Business, government officials bracing for railroad workers strike

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Railroads and labor unions representing the industry’s workers are locked in heated contract negotiations. The two sides met with Labor Secretary Marty Walsh on Wednesday.

A spokesman for the railroads said there are no plans to lock workers out. However, if the two sides don’t reach an agreement by 12 a.m. Friday, workers could strike. If this happens, the impact on the already teetering U.S. economy could be disastrous. There are 12 unions representing rail workers. Most reached deals with the railroads earlier this week, but two of the largest unions are holding out over time off and quality-of-life concerns.

The unions called a new attendance policy by the railroads “draconian,” arguing workers could be terminated for taking time off to see a doctor. The railroads contend the time-off policy is more than fair for workers and balances the railroads duty to deliver goods all over the country.

Some shipments of hazardous materials were already diverted ahead of Friday’s potential shutdown. Virtually every industry in the country would be impacted in some way if a strike does happen. The White House called the strike “unacceptable.”

Nearly all ethanol, coal and grain in the U.S. moves by rail. Passenger and commuter lines would also be impacted by a strike. The Biden administration is working to line up alternate methods of delivery like trucks, planes and boats to keep the most critical chemicals and goods moving.

Even with those alternatives in place, though, economists said if the trains stop running, even for a day, it could take months to fully recover.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

THE U.S. ECONOMY IS TEETERING ON THE EDGE OF RECESSION. MANY EXPERTS SAY WE’RE ALREADY THERE.

SO WHILE A NATION-WIDE STRIKE THAT SHUTS DOWN RAILROADS IS ABOUT THE LAST THING WE NEED, BUSINESS AND GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS ARE BRACING FOR IT.

RAILROADS AND UNIONS REPRESENTING THE INDUSTRY’S WORKERS ARE LOCKED IN HEATED CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS.

THE TWO SIDES MET WITH LABOR SECRETARY MARTY WALSH ON WEDNESDAY. THE RAILROADS SAY THERE ARE NO PLANS TO LOCK WORKERS OUT.

BUT IF THE TWO SIDES DON’T REACH AN AGREEMENT BY 12 AM FRIDAY, WORKERS COULD STRIKE.

THERE ARE 12 UNIONS REPRESENTING RAIL WORKERS. MOST REACHED DEALS WITH THE RAILROADS EARLIER THIS WEEK, BUT TWO OF THE LARGEST UNIONS ARE HOLDING OUT OVER TIME OFF AND QUALITY-OF-LIFE CONCERNS.

SOME SHIPMENTS OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS WERE ALREADY DIVERTED AHEAD OF FRIDAY’S POTENTIAL SHUTDOWN.

VIRTUALLY EVERY INDUSTRY IN THE COUNTRY WOULD BE IMPACTED IN SOME WAY IF A STRIKE DOES HAPPEN, WHICH IS WHY THE WHITE HOUSE CALLED THE POSSIBILITY UNACCEPTABLE.

NEARLY ALL ETHANOL, COAL AND GRAIN IN THE U.S. MOVES BY RAIL.

PASSENGER AND COMMUTER LINES WOULD ALSO BE IMPACTED BY A STRIKE.

THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION IS WORKING TO LINE UP ALTERNATE METHODS OF DELIVERY TO KEEP THE MOST CRITICAL CHEMICALS AND GOODS MOVING.

EVEN WITH THOSE ALTERNATIVES IN PLACE, THOUGH, ECONOMISTS SAY IF THE TRAINS STOP RUNNING, EVEN FOR A DAY, IT COULD TAKE MONTHS TO FULLY RECOVER.

Railroads and labor unions representing the industry’s workers are locked in heated contract negotiations. The two sides met with Labor Secretary Marty Walsh on Wednesday.

A spokesman for the railroads said there are no plans to lock workers out. However, if the two sides don’t reach an agreement by 12 a.m. Friday, workers could strike. If this happens, the impact on the already teetering U.S. economy could be disastrous. There are 12 unions representing rail workers. Most reached deals with the railroads earlier this week, but two of the largest unions are holding out over time off and quality-of-life concerns.

The unions called a new attendance policy by the railroads “draconian,” arguing workers could be terminated for taking time off to see a doctor. The railroads contend the time-off policy is more than fair for workers and balances the railroads duty to deliver goods all over the country.

Some shipments of hazardous materials were already diverted ahead of Friday’s potential shutdown. Virtually every industry in the country would be impacted in some way if a strike does happen. The White House called the strike “unacceptable.”

Nearly all ethanol, coal and grain in the U.S. moves by rail. Passenger and commuter lines would also be impacted by a strike. The Biden administration is working to line up alternate methods of delivery like trucks, planes and boats to keep the most critical chemicals and goods moving.

Even with those alternatives in place, though, economists said if the trains stop running, even for a day, it could take months to fully recover.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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