A crippling railroad strike looms, just in time for the holidays – RedState

It looks like the trains might stop in time for Christmas.

On Monday, the SMART Transportation Division (SMART-TD), the nation’s largest railroad union, narrowly rejected a contract offered by the White House. This means the possibility of a strike just in time for the holiday season.

ABC News:

The SMART Transportation Division, or SMART-TD, which represents about 28,000 drivers, rejected the contract in a vote that garnered a record turnout, the union said Monday. The contract was canceled by a narrow margin, as only 50.8% of workers voted against it.

The second-largest railway union, made up of engineers, voted in favor of the contract on Monday, dividing the main railway unions, which represent around half of workers in the industry.

This is important because in September President Biden proudly announced that his administration had reached an agreement with the railroad unions to avoid a strike. However, at the time, unions did not confirm the deal, suggesting that the only deal Biden made was for everyone to shut up until the end of the midterm elections.

Statusred reported on the “deal” at the time:

As Statusred reported Thursday, the Biden administration has reached a tentative agreement with national railroad workers and their union, following threats of a strike by railroad workers. Such a strike could further hamper the already precarious problems in the country’s supply chain. With two months to go before the midterm elections, the administration was under intense pressure to avert another economic disaster. A deal was struck just 24 hours before the deadline.

However, it turns out that the details of the deal aren’t even revealed to the railroad workers, and some wonder if they really got what they asked for.

Of The Washington Post:

Despite the breakthrough, crucial questions remained. None of the parties involved in the talks has confirmed how many unpaid sick days workers will be entitled to, and some details about other provisions of the agreement have remained unclear.

It’s a Christmas Miracle!

There are eleven railway unions. The White House contract can only be ratified if all eleven unions agree. So far, only four of the unions have done so. Unless SMART-TD can negotiate a deal they feel comfortable with, a strike seems inevitable. The eleven unions have agreed that they will not cross the picket lines if a strike is called.

A railway strike during the busiest season of the year could be catastrophic for an already struggling economy. It could also create an even more serious drag on the supply chain. Americans ship billions of tons of product by rail each year. In 2020, US freight trains shipped over 2.1 billion tonne-kilometres (one ton of goods per kilometer) across the country.

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