President Biden’s special board overseeing railroad contract disputes has released its initial report following a 30-day review period of the ongoing labor negotiation, according to the AP.
- The report recommends giving the 115,000 rail workers a 24% raise, plus bonuses, to avoid a strike action.
- The board’s report provides a basis for the negotiations between the railroads and the unions, as they pursue an agreement on the next five-year labor contract.
Averting a strike: Job cuts and an increased workload due to the pandemic have frustrated rail workers who believe they deserve higher compensation for their services. A strike or shutdown could cause severe damage to the railroad industry and the larger supply chain.
- “A railroad strike could devastate businesses that rely on Union Pacific, BNSF, Norfolk Southern, CSX and other major freight railroads to deliver raw materials and ship their products.”
Help wanted: “Reaching a new agreement would likely make it easier for railroads to hire new employees, which they acknowledge they need to do to improve service and cut down on the delays that have plagued freight shipments this year. The major freight railroads have all said they want to hire hundreds more workers, but worker shortages are making that difficult.”
The NAM’s view: The NAM has long urged a speedy resolution to this rail dispute, and in fact called on President Biden to create this emergency board to help avoid any lengthy service disturbance.
- The NAM will continue working with key stakeholders to encourage the parties to conclude negotiations in a timeframe that prohibits further disruption to the shipping supply chain.