Shipping and Logistics

Rejection of Rail Agreement Reignites Potential for Strike

Written by Becca Moczygemba

Nearly a month after reaching a tentative labor agreement, the possibility of a rail strike is back on the table, as the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division (BMWED) of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union announced on Oct. 10 the rejection of its deal with the freight rail lines.

rail transportationUnion members voted in record numbers and have expressed feelings of being undervalued. “They resent the fact that 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. The result of this vote indicates that there is a lot of work to do to establish goodwill and improve the morale that has been broken by the railroads’ executives and Wall Street hedge fund managers,” said BMWED president Tony D. Cardwell.

While four of the 12 unions, representing 115,000 rail workers, have already approved their agreements, all 12 must confirm to avoid a strike. BMWED is currently under a status quo period where it will reenter negotiations with the rail lines. The period will extend to five days after Congress reconvenes on Nov. 14.

During the September negotiations with the Association of American Railroads, intervention from Congress aided in averting a strike. As rail plays a significant role in the transportation of steel goods, a strike would have a substantial impact.

By Becca Moczygemba,

Becca Moczygemba

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