Fears Grow of Holiday Rail Strike as Unions Negotiate Bargaining Agreement
The country’s largest railroad unions failed to accept a proposed agreement with rail carriers on Monday after SMART-TD’s workers narrowly voted to reject the proposal. Without an agreement, rail workers could go on strike — just in time for the holidays.
Key Quotes: SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson said “the ball is now in the railroads’ court,” following the vote, citing “a lot” of unresolved issues that prompted his workers to oppose the deal. The president of BLET, which voted for the deal, said the union would stand “shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters in SMART-TD” as negotiations continued. Without a deal, Association of American Railroads President Ian Jefferies said, “Congress should be prepared to act and avoid a disastrous $2 billion a day hit to our economy.”
For Context: This isn’t the first time rail workers have come close to striking this year, and negotiations have been ongoing. The unions only narrowly failed to come to an agreement; according to Vice (Left bias), 53.5% of BLET workers voted to ratify the deal, as did 62.5% of SMART-TD’s yardmasters. However, about 51% of SMART-TD’s train operators voted against the deal.
How the Media Covered It: Most coverage highlighted the “looming” possibility of a strike. Coverage from the right was more likely to call the possibility a “threat.” Vice, which often focuses on labor issues, broke with most other outlets by downplaying the possibility of a strike and calling rail carriers’ workplace policies “draconian.”
Featured Coverage of this Story
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The president of the largest freight rail union is skeptical he’ll be able to reach a new agreement with carriers in time to prevent an economically devastating strike — and predicts Congress will likely soon step in.
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SMART-TD, which represents nearly 40,000, or 3 in 10, freight rail workers, announced...
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Members of the largest US rail workers union rejected a proposed deal on Monday – a move that sparked concerns of a potential strike just ahead of the busy holiday season.
Train conductors represented by the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers-Transportation Division, or SMART-TD, narrowly rejected the proposed deal. The vote drew record turnout among the union’s membership of more than 28,000 conductors and other workers.
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Workers at the largest U.S. rail union voted against a tentative contract deal reached in September, raising the possibility of a year-end strike that could cause significant damage to the U.S. economy and strand vital shipments of food and fuel.
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