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Rail Catastrophe Averted

It seems the rail strike in the U.S. has been narrowly averted. The White House announced a “tentative” agreement on Thursday.

The sticking point was not only pay but also time off. The Labor Department was able to agree to pay increases of 24% but the attendance policies were what unions were calling “Draconian.”

Workers are always on call and if they are called in, they have approximately 90 minutes to get to work or else risk point deductions. If they are called on a “high-impact day” such as a holiday or Super Bowl Sunday and cannot make it, they are deducted more points than normal. If their points fall below a certain threshold, they are suspended. They do not get a reprieve from this system for family obligations or any other humane reason and, after working through the pandemic where freight volume skyrocketed, they’re tired!

Details of how this bit was worked out have not yet been announced but it was clear that the Biden administration was shaking in its boots about a potential rail strike at a time when the country could ill afford a slow-up of consumer goods. Especially not right before a midterm election!

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