Deadline Looms for Railway Union Strike

A railway strike would severely impact the US economy.

A railway strike would severely impact the US economy.

This week, representatives of the National Railway Labor Conference and the various railway workers unions met with US Labor Secretary Martin Walsh to discuss the current state of rail work. Union workers have already made clear their intents to go on strike if a deal cannot be reached, and according to representatives who attended the meeting, the chances of a strike seem high. The workers are planning to go on strike starting September 16.

Should a railway strike occur, the US economy would be dealt a severe blow, as roughly 40% of the country’s shipping industry is reliant on rail travel. A strike was prevented two months ago with the appointment of the Presidential Emergency Board, which imposed a 60-day cooling off period. When that period ends, though, a strike could start immediately.

“After the pandemic and supply chain disruptions of the past two years, now is not the time for more uncertainty and disruption,” a White House official told CNN, adding that the government “stands ready to support the parties as they work toward an agreement or a voluntary extension of the cooling off period.”

“We take no position on what the elements of an agreement should be,” the official added. “We are confident the parties will make every effort to negotiate in good faith toward a mutually acceptable solution, and we urge both sides to do so promptly.”

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