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Railroad Rejection

After months of high-tension negotiations, a Rail Union representing more than 12,000 workers rejected efforts for labor agreements, paving the way for a possible union strike.

On Monday, Oct. 10th, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division of the Teamsters (BMWED) voted against an agreement made between the Department of Labor, multiple unions and railroad companies.

Due to non-satisfactory conditions within the agreement, the move by the third largest railroad union in the U.S. would prove utterly disastrous to the economy, especially so close to the holiday season. The current state of the economy brought on by Congress and the Biden administration’s reckless policies has only worsened railroad workers’ concerns.

If the White House fails once again at helping broker a satisfactory agreement between all rail companies and unions, Congress may have to step in during their lame-duck session after the 2022 Midterm Elections.

Despite the rail union agreeing to currently work for their respective companies, the threat of economic disaster from a strike has renewed immenency, especially if the government and unions fail to agree on key issues. 

In the event of a rail strike by BMWED, over half of the railway maintenance employees would cease work, inhibiting transportation of crucial freight across the nation. Perhaps if the U.S. economy was in better shape, railroad companies might be able to meet worker union demands. However, inflation costs and rising fuel prices cause companies to be limited in fiscal matters due to increased financial stress.

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic’s crippling of most of the U.S. economy, President Biden’s lackluster Build Back Better approach to economic policy has failed to help blue collar workers, including those on the railroad.

“The agreement gives employees a substantial pay raise — after nearly three years of no increases — but doesn’t adequately address many workers’ concerns over workplace conditions,” according to Axios. How can railroad companies meet their employees financial needs if the economy, caused by thoughtless policies, fiscally drains company bank accounts? Once again, economic disaster can be linked back to the common denominator, the Biden administration’s policy.

“‘Railroaders are discouraged and upset with working conditions and compensation, and hold their employer in low regard. Railroaders do not feel valued,’ Cardwell said in a statement. ‘They resent the fact 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,’” according to a recent Associated Press article, detailing Union President Tony Cardwell’s statements on rail workers’ dissatisfaction. 

If the Biden-caused economic issues for rail companies and rail unions are not solved soon, the possible economic implications could be cataclysmic for not only the railway, but all freight across America. The United States’ logistical transportation stability is at risk, while the federal government and the Biden administration strive to inadequately solve the ruinous mess they have created.

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