A National Rail Strike is Closer than Ever
The largest rail union, SMART-TD, voted against a tentative agreement on Monday, once again raising the likelihood of a nationwide rail strike. The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes (BMWED) is set to strike on Dec. 5, but said it would extend the cooling-off period if larger unions voted not to ratify the deal, according to CNBC.
Sick time is the point of frustration between rail workers and railroads. "Railroads have slashed labor and other costs to bolster profits and are fiercely opposed to adding sick time flexibility that would require them to hire more staff," reads an article from Reuters.
But just how bad would a strike impact the economy? It could cost an estimated $2 billion per day, and has the potential to hurl the U.S. into a recession. "If a strike goes on for an extended period, it could cause shortages and higher prices for goods including fuel and food," reads an article from CNN. "If the four unions that rejected the deals are unable to reach new deals before strike deadlines, Congress could order the railroad workers to remain on the job or return to work."
All 12 rail unions have now completed their ratification process, with eight of the unions voting in favor of a deal and four voting against it. "The railroads showed no sign of being willing to reopen talks. Congress may need to intervene, to prevent disruption of the national rail system," said the National Carriers' Conference Committee (NCCC), per Reuters.