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Threat of Nationwide Railroad Strike Grows after 2nd Union Rejects Proposed Deal

Threat of Nationwide Railroad Strike Grows after 2nd Union Rejects Proposed Deal

Good news: The strike won’t happen until Nov. 8th. Bad news: I hope you didn’t need any Christmas presents or holiday foods. Meanwhile, Transportation Secretary Buttigieg is doing the campaigning nobody wants Biden to do.

We have been following developments related to a potential rail strike as unions try to negotiate a new contract with employees unhappy with proposals that have already been offered.

Now there is news that a second union has rejected a deal that was hammered out last month between rail companies, unions, and the Biden administration.

The vote by the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, the second union to reject the White House-brokered deal, elevates the likelihood of a nationwide strike when a negotiation deadline arrives in November.

The potential work stoppage could paralyze the nation’s supply chain and transportation rail service as the U.S. enters peak holiday season.

…The vote against the contract centered on frustration with a lack of paid sick days, according to a statement from Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen President Michael Baldwin. “For the first time that I can remember, the BRS members voted not to ratify a National Agreement,” he said.

The rejection of the deal came despite a 24% compounded wage increase and preservation of the members’ health care benefits, Baldwin added.

The “good news” is that the unions apparently agreed to help Biden out by not striking until after the Nov. 8th election.

The bad news: The strike may occur in time to impact supplies for the Christmas season.

It stipulated that there would be no work stoppage until December at the earliest. The same is likely true for the other holdout unions as well.

he hope of the railroads had been that the first failed vote was essentially a fluke. The vote by members of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division on Oct. 10 had been followed by two more union memberships voting to accept the deal, bringing six of the 12 railroad unions on board.

But half the unions are not the “all aboard” the railroads were hoping for.

“Railroaders do not feel valued,” Tony Cardwell, BMWED union president, told the trade publication Progressive Railroading at the time of the first “no” vote. “They resent the fact that management holds no regard for their quality of life, illustrated by their stubborn reluctance to provide a higher quantity of paid time off, especially for sickness.”

Worried businesses are now seeking help from Congress and the White House.

A coalition involving 322 business groups from a variety of industries signed off on a letter to President Biden Thursday urging him to make sure the deals he helped broker, get approved because a railroad strike would have dire consequences for the economy.

All 12 rail unions must approve their agreements to prevent a strike next month.

“It is paramount that these contracts now be ratified, as a rail shutdown would have a significant impact on the U.S. economy and lead to further inflationary pressure,” wrote the group.

I wish those businesses a ton of good luck obtaining any meaningful assistance from Biden, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, or Congress as it is currently constituted.

In fact, where is Buttigieg now? Doing the campaigning nobody wants Biden to do.

The youngest member of President Biden’s cabinet on Friday sought to boost turnout among youth voters, an important group for Democrats and one that historically has not shown up in big numbers for non-presidential elections.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, appearing near the campus of Wisconsin’s largest university, noted the youthfulness of the state’s Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes.

“It would be nice to have a few more youngsters in D.C.,” Mr. Buttigieg, 40 years old, told those gathered in a hotel ballroom just east of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s campus.


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Well, Biden used to be a locomotive engineer…..

Let the lying begin.

    Whoopee Peabody in reply to Dimsdale. | October 29, 2022 at 2:19 pm

    Used to be locomotive engineer, but now he’s just plain loco.

    The Gentle Grizzly in reply to Dimsdale. | October 29, 2022 at 6:27 pm

    Yes. He drove the Pennsylvania Railroad’s GG-1 electric locomotives, started off by shoveling coal, then worked his way up to engineer.

    His run was mostly from Atcheson, to Topeka and Santa Fe, on the Super Chief.

Exactly as predicted.

Unions are poison, and public sector unions are effectively just arms of the Democrat party at this point.

The unions already got an INSANE deal, but they’re demanding EVEN MORE because they know that the Democrats will give them more.

A 24% increase – WITH RETROACTIVE PAY – and they’re TURNING IT DOWN. Not because it’s not an amazing deal, but because they know they can get more from the Democrats because the Democrats don’t have to actually care how much money they’re throwing down the drain.

You’ll notice that NONE of the Democrat shills actually specify how much time of they’re already getting – it’s almost like they know it’s going to be way more than normal people get and they know that the unions demanding more is going to lose them massive public support.

    Free State Paul in reply to Olinser. | October 29, 2022 at 3:35 pm

    Private sector unions are good for the working class. They balance the power of big corporations. If they get too greedy, they put themselves out of a job.

    Public sector unions are bad for the working class. They can’t get too greedy, since the government can just raise taxes. If they strike, the public suffers, not the government.

    GuardDuck in reply to Olinser. | October 29, 2022 at 3:41 pm

    You have no idea what you are talking about.

    One, railroads are not public sector.

    Two, 24% isn’t. It’s 22% – over 5 years. Which, is less than inflation or the increase in the cost of living. And it’s the “largest” increase in 40 years. Which also puts all the increases in the last 40 years as less than the increase in the cost of living.

    Three, I’m on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I have no scheduled days off. I even have to call in sick the day before my vacation so i don’t get called out of town for two days 30 minutes before my vacation starts. When I do have a day off, I usually don’t even know it until it’s over, as they count not working for 24 hours as a day off – even if you were on call and expecting at anytime to jump up and go work for 16 hours.

    You should really research what you are speaking of before opening your mouth and showing you know naught.

      Otto Kringelein in reply to GuardDuck. | October 29, 2022 at 4:05 pm

      1. Correct, they are not public sector.

      2. Oh boo effing hoo. You know what my percentage wage increase has been over the last three years? 0%. Yes, zero percent. My last raise was in 2019. And then nothing. Nothing even though I was an “essential worker” and worked with the public during the pandemic. And nothing in 2021 and nothing in 2022 at this point. I’d love 22% over 5 years. At least then I’d be getting a raise. Yeah, kinda sucks it doesn’t cover inflation or the cost of living increases but there you are. At least it would be a raise. And every little bit helps these days.

      3. If you don’t like the job requirements that you agreed to when employed then get the heck outta that job and find something that better suits your needs.

        It’s amazing to me how, the minute we hear “union” everyone assumes that all of the employees are leftists. Railroad employees are REQUIRED by the federal government, because they are a necessary part of the infrastructure, to be represented by a union. Railroads have proven they will literally work their employees to death. Of course they threw money at them! They are operating at record profits because they cut the workforce before and during the pandemic and, because of their attendance policies, which WERE NOT bargained for, can’t keep or get others to replace them, now that they are so short handed. If you lay off sick, you get points docked, which stay docked for 6 months, during which time you are allowed no lay offs. On call 24/7/365. 2 mile long trains that they are trying to get employees to agree to drive with one man crews. They haven’t had a new contract for the past 4 years and they refuse to approve sick leave. They do get personal days… That have to be pre-approved which only happens if they aren’t short handed, which is seldom or never. Even the sick days they finally agreed to, have to be scheduled 30 days in advance. They have implemented work conditions that have not been bargained. Before it went to the PEB, they wanted to give them a raise, which was offset by an increase in healthcare premiums and increased deductibles. As he said, that raise is retroactive to the previous 4 years they have been operating under their old contract so, no, this isn’t what they signed up for. The railroads are increasing profits by artificially driving up their stock by cutting operating a costs. Until you work for a railroad, or know someone who does, you have no clue how dangerous it can be to drive a train for 12-15 hrs, get off long enough to sleep, called back in another 10 hrs, work another 12-15 hrs and go home to wait for the phone to ring again. It was never about the money. It was the work conditions and quality of life. But everyone thinks, because they are “throwing money at them”, they are just being greedy. They’ve made it clear from the beginning what the issues are. The railroads have REFUSED to negotiate.

          GuardDuck in reply to Posies. | October 29, 2022 at 5:41 pm

          I wish I worked under the job requirements and relative pay for such that I signed up for.

          I don’t. They changed it and won’t either improve working conditions commensurate for the lower relative pay it improve the pay requiring too the worst working conditions.

          That raise level alone might have been enough absent the negative changes in working conditions even with the bs increase in health insurance contributions. But it wasn’t.

          So again. You have no concept of what your are talking about. You are choosing your apples to what you think are oranges but are really not even a good product – you don’t even know what you don’t know.

        One, are you satisfied that you won’t be receiving a raise? Two, you have no idea what you’re talking about regarding what railroaders agreed to do. Our contracts are violated on a daily basis since PSR was instituted on my carrier in 2016. We are required to basically do the exact *opposite* of what we agreed to do.

        And, yes, I know where the door is. I can leave if I don’t like it. Blah, blah, blah. Well, I’m not likely to leave in my early 50’s with more than 20 years put into this career. It’s the younger guys who are quitting in record numbers. We’ve had some men with 15+ years leave, but it’s the new-hires they can’t keep. That’s because they’re a bunch of assholes who treat their employees like crap.

      daniel_ream in reply to GuardDuck. | October 29, 2022 at 6:37 pm

      Unionized employees – public and private – have been singing the “poor me, poor me” song for so long they’ve eliminated any goodwill amongst the public they might once have had.

      The conditions you describe are mild compared to any number of other non-unionized business sectors, especially in those sectors forced to shutter their doors during the pandemic.

      Still employed? Still have your home? Still able to feed your family? I know at least a dozen people who do not give a **** about your contract problems, ducky.

      Posies in reply to GuardDuck. | October 29, 2022 at 6:55 pm

      I absolutely agree with you, GuardDuck. My husband is retired UPRR engineer and my son is current CSX conductor/trainman and previously worked for UPRR for 13 years. No one has a clue of life as a railroader, or of their families. No holidays off, or extra pay. At least, not for the road crews. I can count on 1 hand the number of times that my husband was home for Christmas or Thanksgiving. I don’t doubt the union timed all of this to coincide with the election. In fact, I was told that the Federal Mediator walked away early, JUST to have it come up just before elections. That didn’t mean that their issues with the agreement that the RINOs agreed to, before Biden “swept in”I to save the day. To be fair, the SMRT untion has said all along that they wouldn’t be able to get a vote until the latter part of November, so they are blowing smoke, saying that they will wait until after the election. It wouldn’t have gotten done by then anyway. I don’t want them to strike any more than any other consumer. Striking is not something most would want, considering it is without pay! But nothing else has worked.

    Wrathchilde in reply to Olinser. | October 30, 2022 at 8:44 am

    While I share your disdain on most unions, these railroad union members have stated it clearly: They don’t care about the money, it’s not the issue. Time off is the issue. Being unable to use your personal or vacation time due to manpower shortages? How long do you put up with it? A year? Two? four?
    Your reaction is exactly what *I* predicted we would see. That astronomical pay increase was deliberately crafted to get people to focus on the “greed” of the members, and not their grievances. Mission accomplished.

    It doesn’t matter if they get 240 vacation days per year if they’re not allowed to use any of them. They pay is a strawman issue.

      Olinser in reply to Wrathchilde. | October 30, 2022 at 12:14 pm


      The pay is absolutely NOT a ‘strawman issue’.

      If they thought time off was more important, then guess what? They would have to agree to a tradeoff. They’d have to agree to a lower raise to compensate. Because time off IS pay compensation – the company has to pay somebody else (and likely pay somebody else overtime) – to cover paid time off.

      Instead you have union shills in this very thread whining that the money ISN’T ENOUGH, while at the same time whining that they don’t get enough time off.

      They want the money AND the time off, it is absolutely NOT a ‘strawman’.

        User7683 in reply to Olinser. | October 30, 2022 at 8:17 pm

        Good grief. You are so absolutely uninformed. Let me give you a scenario. I’m a road engineer. I work totally on call, with rotating 48 hours rest. Every seventh day, I’m to start 48 hours off. The off days never come on time. I’m always somewhere on the railroad when they are supposed to start. This means that I don’t know when they will start. Therefore, I can’t plan medical or dental appointments, dinner with the wife, etc. Well, I get 9 personal leave days per year, so I put in for two of them on a Tuesday and Wednesday so I will know I’m going to be home for my Thursday and Friday off days. Trainmaster declines my request for PL days because they “fall before your off days.” Oh really? There’s nothing in my contract that says I can’t request them that way. The contract states they are to be approved if manpower is sufficient. If I can’t take two days off in the middle of the week in February, the railroad is the problem. Not me. We deal with this crap all the time. They want us on-call, sitting by the phone 24/7/365. You think I’m a jackass for wanting to take a three or four day weekend twice a year? With off days I friggin’ earned?

        It is ABSOLUTELY about off time. And why should I have to take a reduction in pay to be able to use the vacation and personal leave days that I‘ve earned over all these years. WTF?

Subotai Bahadur | October 29, 2022 at 2:53 pm

The Left got exactly what it wanted. The economy and supply chains are going to be totally buggered for an unknown period of time, while we have an energy shortage; all AFTER the election. Toss in the possibility that the integrity of the election will be such as to make the results unacceptable to a significant portion of the population and you have a pretty good basis for a declaration of a “state of emergency” “until conditions return to normal”.


Subotai Bahadur

    Free State Paul in reply to Subotai Bahadur. | October 29, 2022 at 3:38 pm

    I disagree.

    The worse the better. Normies won’t wake up until chaos is total.

    Another Voice in reply to Subotai Bahadur. | October 29, 2022 at 4:35 pm

    “pretty good basis for a declaration of a “state of emergency” “until conditions return to normal”.

    Having posted before coming to yours and not as concise as your post, but the ends by the same means premised by the Democrats use of “Never let a serious Crisis go to Waste.

    paracelsus in reply to Subotai Bahadur. | October 29, 2022 at 5:28 pm

    I was wondering why Obama and Biden have been arming various sections of Federal public sector workers (the latest having been the IRS): a national army that can be called up at immediate notice by the POTUS

The Biden Administration has done an excellent job of kicking this strike, and the coming spike in gas and oil prices, just far enough to be past the election.

It’s going to be an interesting winter.

The Gentle Grizzly | October 29, 2022 at 3:06 pm

Meanwhile, an interesting bit of tech is coming. about which I just heard. One truck driver, who, via telemetry. controls a total of three trucks; two are driverless.

Antifundamentalist | October 29, 2022 at 3:08 pm

This is why I hate Big Unions. They’ve outlived their usefulness when they do things like this – things that harm their employees instead of brokering a deal that improves working conditions while allowing the employer to remain solvent.

    You have no idea how much money the Class Ones have. This isn’t the issue. The issue for the carriers is avoiding any meaningful off time, and the elimination of the conductor off the mainline.

It looks like a monopoly union, railwise, to me.

Otto Kringelein | October 29, 2022 at 3:46 pm

The “good news” is that the unions apparently agreed to help Biden out by not striking until after the Nov. 8th election.

And I wonder what it will cost the U.S. taxpayer on Nov. 9th when the unions go on strike . . . where there’s Quid there has to be Quo. The unions don’t do anything for free.

    There will be no strike. Biden put us back to work after the last cooling off period, and he will do it again. The democrats don’t give a rip about us.

Another Voice | October 29, 2022 at 4:17 pm

On One Side There Is This:
The potential work stoppage could paralyze the nation’s supply chain and transportation rail service as the U.S. enters peak holiday season. The Union stipulated that there would be no work stoppage until December at the earliest. The same is likely true for the other holdout unions as well.”

On the Other Hand There Is This:
Diesel stockpiles in the U.S. are reportedly at their lowest point since 2008, with only enough fuel for a 25-day supply, according to a recent report from Bloomberg. Demand is also said to be at its highest point since 2007, creating a dangerous supply/demand combination that’s causing spikes in pricing. The Biden administration called the nationwide diesel supply “unacceptably low” and is looking at all options to build up the national supply to help reduce prices.

Perhaps the Union will not have to wait until December to make a decision on their next move as the fore sight of Biden’s policies on production of our own Domestic Oil will make the entire issue mute for the entire Rail transportation industry. And Airline and Auto. Interstate Truckers who are means for Farmers and Producers to Market of not just our Food but for all goods. Even Amazon can’t ship out what can’t be shipped in. For the dimension of It will make having no toilet paper or baby formula seem like small ‘potatoes’, which would also not be on the delivery truck.

An intended crisis as to cause another situation to shut down our country in the manner of a Pandemic at a critical time of anticipating a new Administration and only the Pen of the President to declare it?

    is looking at all options to build up the national supply to help reduce prices

    Heck no they aren’t. Any option involving increasing the domestic supply of fuel or its ease of transportation is not on the table, and even if such was announced today the lead time for such things is measured in many months, if not years.

“”The Biden administration …….. is looking at all options to build up the national supply to help reduce prices.””

Except for increasing domestic production.

Railway workers have some fair points for work/life balance. The rail companies cut staff then tell the remaining workforce to pick up the slack. That is fine until we get to scheduling. Workers should be able to have a consistent schedule. They should be able to pencil in their leave for vacation.

The issue here is that the rail companies wanted to cut their workforce too much. When there’s not enough workforce for individual workers to be able to have a sick day without their absence becoming an issue it indicates they cut too deeply and are inflexible.

Does anyone else see a perfect storm.. RR strike.. and running out of diesel for trucks? Must be me. Buckle up, and buy toilet paper.

    randian in reply to amwick. | October 31, 2022 at 9:56 pm

    Does anyone else see a perfect storm.. RR strike.. and running out of diesel for trucks?

    If there is no diesel available for the trucks it doesn’t matter that there are no trains to transport it because of a strike, besides which the trains themselves run on diesel so the shortage is a double whammy.

A robot could run a train. This is what terrifies the unions. Like the buggy whip makers before them, they cling to century old technology.

    User7683 in reply to sfharding. | October 30, 2022 at 8:32 pm

    No, a robot can’t run a train. I utilize GE’s Trip Optimizer system, and EMD’s LEADER/Energy Management system several times a week. Very nearly on every single train. Neither is capable of freely running a train. Not at all.

No Railroads:
This is still the backbone of heavy land freight.
And no Diesel?
The Train Engines are Diesel-Driven Electric Generators powering up Electric Traction Motors.

I guess the easiest way to steal a vote is by computerizing the process.
Computers do as they are told. They are no smarter than a bag of marbles.

If the Railroads go on strike, that would be a National Emergency.
The Military would likely take up operations.

And the Unions would get what they deserve.

    User7683 in reply to snowshooze. | October 30, 2022 at 8:34 pm

    Ohhhhhhh!!!!!! You have NO IDEA how I’d LOVE to see the military and bunch of railroad officials try to do all the switching and all the mainline freights on my line of road. It would be beautiful to see, but it would be best to evacuate.

Wasn’t there an book about this railway problem??
Ann Rand, anybody?

BierceAmbrose | October 30, 2022 at 5:01 pm

That much-touted “deal” with the rail unions is working out about as well as every other Biden-Branded scheme, from before he was president. (Look at the policies and practices he backed.)

Well, he’s consistent. Possessed of the hobgoblin of small minds, one might say.

Bad news: I hope you didn’t need any Christmas presents or holiday foods.

Exactly why they’ve chosen that date to strike: the effects of the strike will be after the election so it won’t hammer the Democrats, yet still gives maximum leverage to the union once the media starts reporting on a no-present Christmas.