Rail Union Strikes Early, Endangering Distribution Network

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) announced on Wednesday that almost 5,000 railroad workers agreed to reject a provisional contract accord with railroads.

They also agree to allow a strike. The vote was held during the union’s annual convention.

Unmet Demands 

The members of the IAM are the first to vote in favor of a strike and to reject an agreement based on specific suggestions. These suggestions were made public by a board appointed by the White House one month ago. 

The vote demonstrates rail workers are not content with the agreement, which promises rises of 24 percent and additional compensation.

However, it does not meet the workers’ demands for more reliable scheduling and the opportunity to take time off for doctors’ visits without being punished. 

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers announced it would defer strike action until September 29 at noon in order to allow union bosses to continue discussions with railroads.

The IAM issued a statement in which they said the following:

“We look forward to continuing that essential work with a reasonable deal that guarantees our members and their loved ones are treated with the dignity they deserve. They were keeping America’s products and resources progressing through the epidemics.” 

The White House’s Plan

As of Friday, upwards of 115,000 rail workers have the legal right to go on strike.

This action would halt the mobility of food, gas, and other goods, likely causing damage to the nation’s already strained distribution networks and increasing costs.

Legislators are getting ready to exercise their power in order to prevent a walkout. Republican senators are supporting a bill that would enact a contract extension, according to the recommendations of the presidential panel. 

This is the option that railroads and other commercial interests are lobbying for; however, Democratic leaders have stated they will intervene if it becomes necessary to do so. 

In the meantime, discussions are taking place at the White House to develop backup plans to ensure that essential commodities will still reach their destinations in the event that railroads are shut down. 

Karine Jean-Pierre, the press secretary for the White House, made the following statement to reporters on Tuesday:

“We are collaborating with other methods of transportation, such as shipping lines and trucking companies, air freight, etc., to see how they can move in and keep commodities moving in case this rail work stoppage.” 

It is hoped that everything will be sorted out before the onset of winter. It’s hoped that the demands of the railroad workers will be addressed.

It is not sufficient to merely request that other bodies come in and handle the existing supply difficulties; rather, it is necessary to find a solution that will last.

This article appeared in NewsHouse and has been published here with permission.