Freight double-stack train in USA, source: Wikipedia

US strikes warded off, for now

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A railway strike in the US has in all likelihood been warded off, as a tentative deal was drawn up by railways companies and unions and the Biden administration on Thursday morning (local time). A strike on the railways could have a major impact on the food and fuel supply chain in the country.

The talks between the parties started on Wednesday morning and lasted till deep in the night. The agreement has yet to be accepted by the railway companies and unions. Until then, strikes will not be held, is the promise.

The gains

Railway workers called for a strike as they demand better working conditions. One of the main objectives mentioned is the permission to take unpaid leave to visit the doctor. The agreement that is now on the table grants that ability, giving workers one additional paid day off and an ability to attend medical appointments without penalty, labor unions said. The agreement also includes an immediate 14.1 per cent wage rise.

U.S. President Joe Biden announced the deal early on Thursday morning, calling it “a win for tens of thousands of rail workers who worked tirelessly through the pandemic to ensure that America’s families and communities got deliveries of what have kept us going during these difficult years”, as reported by Reuters.

Small crisis averted

The railway strike in the US would have started on Friday 16 September. As the railways are dominantly used for freight transportation, it would have meant a major disruption to national, but also international supply chains.

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) warned earlier: “Freight railroads are indispensable to our economy. That is why a freight rail shutdown idling more than 7,000 long-distance Class I trains per day, in addition to the short line, passenger and commuter trains, would be devastating.

Today, tens of thousands of rail customer locations – from sprawling auto plants to mom-and-pop retailers – depend on railroads to deliver raw materials and finished products. If these and other rail shipments were halted, the loss in economic output would likely be at least $2 billion per day.

Also read:

President Biden seeks to ward off national strike by US railway workers

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Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is the editor-in-chief of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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