Nationwide Rail Strike Still Possible After Rail Union Rejects Proposed Contract

There are growing concerns about a nationwide rail strike, now that more rail unions have rejected a proposed contract between the rail carriers and rail unions. Negotiations between the two sides have gone on for several years with some of the main sticking points for unions revolving around quality-of-life issues, such as time off.

Negotiators had reached a tentative agreement and avoided a strike several weeks ago, but were waiting for the unions to vote on that agreement. However, several unions have since rejected the deal. SMART Transportation Division is one of the largest unions, and part of that union voted the tentative agreement down, saying that it did not address some of the significant quality-of-life issues that it believes are fundamental.

Currently, the rail carriers and rail unions have entered into a cooling-off period, which prevents the rail carriers from locking out workers or union members from organizing a strike due to work conditions. However, that changes on December 9th.

In response to the results of some of the unions rejecting the contract agreement, Union Pacific said, “The railroads remain willing to enter into agreements based on the PEB-recommended framework. Should the unions, without ratified agreements, remain unwilling to do so, they are expected to strike, and Congress may need to intervene, just as it has in the past, preventing further disruption to the struggling supply chain.”