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The Ongoing USA Railroad Strike
For the first time in 30 years, the USA railway workers are threatening to go on strike. Economists and finance experts have all talked about the side effect of the strike on the US economy.
The president of the United States, Joe Biden, and the congress have also come up with a way of keeping the freight companies and the railroad workers happy to prevent a southwards movement in the economy due to the strike. Read on to know the cause of this trike and the proposed solution to it.
What is the Bone of Contention Between US Railroad Workers and the Freight Companies?
The railroad workers summarized their problems in 3 points
- Fixed scheduling: the companies placed the workers on a tight schedule that places them on call 7 days a week, with no break
- Poor pay: the railroad workers feel tenor pay which hasn’t been reviewed in years is lower than the tasks they carry out
- No (paid) sick leave: Due to fixed scheduling, no one is allowed to take a six leave or even get paid when they eventually decide to go on sick leave.
The USA Railway Strike: The Background
“Do you know that railroad workers can get fired for visiting the doctors to keep good health? That is enough bone of contention to deal with.”
The time when the issue between the rail bosses and the unions became public knowledge can be traced back to 2019 when roundtable negotiation started. It later moved from negotiation to mediation in 2021.
This is 2022 and the workers are threatening to go on strike. What could have gone wrong?
The President hasn’t enough patience to wait for the threat to unfold on already shaking economy. What did he do?
What Did The President Do?
Biden set up an arbitrator to address the causes of contention so as to avoid the strike which experts have describe as something that can cripple the economy.
The board came back with a result that says:
14% increase in wages, 24% increase in salary for over 5 years, plus a one-day leave.
From the above, it can clearly be seen that instead of a sick paid leave and a flexible schedule being granted, it was totally avoided with a promise of 24 hour freedom. Not so fair move, I must say.
The Railroad Strike: Any Later Fallout?
Seeing that the major and health threatening issues weren’t attended to, the unions became divided. While other unions accepted the terms of a new contract, the members of The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen Union and SMART Transportation Division union are of the majority refused to accept the deal.
To buttress the point, Dennis Pierce, the secretary of the first mentioned union told The Washington Post that the inability of the workers to visit the doctor when they are sick without being punished was one of the major issues enraging the members of the unions.
This automatically led to the unions declaring that a strike action would commence on the 17th of September. Meanwhile, economists have noted that the US economy stands to lose $2b each day the union is on strike.
The Senate voted in favor of forcing a tentative contract agreed upon by the rest of the union. They, however, avoided making a law that would ensure that railroad workers got paid sick leave. Following the development, The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen caved into the agreement, leaving SMART-TD alone on the opposing side.
Also, after signing the bill on the 2nd of December, the number one citizen of the United States said that it was a tough call to make, but it was the best. His excuse was that he was saving jobs and millions of working families from losing their jobs, especially during the festive period.