So… The administration has ’emboldened’ the unions these days, and now it’s coming back to bite them in the ass…

A 30-day moratorium that has so far forestalled a strike is set to end Friday for members of the two largest U.S. freight rail unions, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, or BLET, and SMART Transportation Division. Both have yet to reach deals with rail carriers, which have struck or are close to reaching tentative agreements with the other 10 of the country’s 12 rail unions.

Full article, HERE from NBC News.

Per one of my HS classmates, who is a retired railroad engineer, it’s the lack of work/life balance. Always on call 24/7 for days, weeks, months on end, with no way to schedule time off for family things.

He also said if the engineers and trainmen (conductors) go out, all the other unions will go with them. That would stop the RR cold, and that includes Amtrak, which is apparently already cancelling the long haul routes as of today.

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg have apparently been trying to get this resolved with no joy, causing Xiden to actually have to call the two union heads on Monday, for all the good it did.

The other wrinkle in this, I believe, would be the shutdown of most commuter rail services, like subways, metros, etc. And the costs would be around $2 billion per day, depending on which set of estimates you want to believe.


Oopsie… — 15 Comments

  1. Well, the unions do have a point — the work/life balance for some people is pretty bad. On the other hand, there is — to my mind anyway — a question of monopoly power here, in that those two unions have complete monopoly control of a resource (labour) in the country. If that were a material resource, the antitrust boys would be down on them like a ton of bricks.

    It’s also going to show that Mr. Biden and his henchmen actually have almost zero clout. Their own fault. Quite a contrast to Mr. Reagan’s response to the antics of PATCO, so many years ago — or Mrs. Thatcher’s, on the other side of the pond, to the coal miners.

    • GMTA, Heresolong. I was composing a shopping list in my head halfway through reading the post. Huh, I’m pretty well stocked up on most stuff. Nevermind.

      • Ended up making a list and going shopping at the big grocery store just because. All the cheap naproxen and vitamin C was gone. Big endcap displays of isopropyl alcohol and hydrogen peroxide. People are starting to get nervous and stock up, I suspect. Tequila is up by a piddling 1.3% so I’m good.

  2. Don’t leave out that the railroads have been pushing their power under federal law to do whatever they want and that they have screwed up all of their mergers in the last 15 years, plus they’re jacking up costs as high as they can and you have an industry trying to commit suicide, unfortunately.
    LOTS of communities that used to support the railroads don’t anymore; I’m surprised that hasn’t bit them yet.

  3. I’m sure they’ll just fire everyone and hire illegals to take over the load. Just like they’ve been slowly doing in the construction industry all over the country.

    But this is what happens when you let Yale and Harvard grads run a railroad – they run roughshod over everything because they’ve never worked a day in their life and that pretentious degree daddy bought them told them they can never be wrong. This is how we’re getting those stupid mile-plus long trains that can’t fit in the existing system and which are fouling everything up.

    But hey! At least they vote democrat (after all they bought and paid for all those democrat politicians!)

  4. I’ve always had a bit of a love-hate relationship with unions. Maybe because my grandfather, a lifelong Republican, was black listed for union organizing in Wyoming’s coal mines in the early 20th century. I am all for unions fighting for better and safer working conditions. Unfortunately, what happens is that union leadership can’t or won’t negotiate for quality of life issues, so it becomes all about wage increases. In part because the union leadership wants more money for dues and pensions, and in part because the companies figure that up to a point paying higher wages is easier than solving the real grievances. Usually nothing changes, except the worker gets a few more shekels, the union gets richer, and the company passes the higher cost on to the consumer. Rinse and repeat until the companies price themselves out of the market, declare bankruptcy, and the workers get laid off.

  5. As I noted above — and I’ll say it again, in case it got missed — the problem with the two major railroad unions is that they have a monopoly on a critical resource. They can, and will unless Biden or Congress find some spine, shut down ALL transportation by rail, not just one railroad or another. ALL of it. I have no problem with a union negotiating with a company for the workers of that company. I have no problem with a company having a reasonable chunk of a market. I have a major problem with and one company or union having an absolute monopoly on a market, nationwide.

    Think about it. Friends, if you oppose a corporate monopoly, of whatever kind, you have to oppose a union monopoly, in whatever industry.

  6. Oh, wait, is not the corrupt, privately-held Fed going to announce a rate hike next Thursday. Couple that with a general strike of rail unions and, kablam!

    The stars are aligning for a real shit show.

    Beans, bullets, comm’s and water. Focus local.

  7. I grew up in a 2 generation railroad family. Dad died 1 year after retiring. I have no respect for the railroads or the government that allowed/encouraged things to get to the point it has over several decades, and has me paying for northeasterners’ AMTRAK service. I’m pretty well stocked and will do more tonight and tomorrow. I hope AMTRAK’s woes bite the right people in the ass. All else is *unfortunate* collateral.

  8. Ian- Yep!

    Hereso/Robert- I did that this morning too!

    Jonathan- At least since 2008, no question!

    John- Probably and true! Nobody learned from the McNamara debacle!

    LL- Concur

    NRW- Good point, and we all know ALL of the union pension plans are underwater…

    Ian- True!

    Petras- Local is right! I need to get more water.

    Bob- The ‘collateral’ damage is going to be huge…

  9. I believe its the “financialization” of the railroads, just like the financialization of companies like Boeing, that is the root of the problem. These wall street financial types become some of the senior managers at the railroads and squeeze the crap out of them for short-term returns. This is why they cut staff over the years and expect the remaining ones to be on-call 24/7 every week of the year. I normally despise unions. But I am with them in this case. The finacialization of all of our industries has to end. It make well take a strike to bring some of these wall street people to their senses.

  10. All other issues aside, the quality of life needs to be addressed. Sitting in a nice warm office letting computer programs dictate operations is, IMO, bad. Tired and disgruntled workers make mistakes. Running longer train consists than the infrastructure is built to accommodate degrades the quality of life for both the railroad employees and the public that live along side the tracks.

    One solution. Every senior executive working for the Union Pacific must spend one week every winter in North Platte working the switching yard as a helper to regular employees. Might get their collective heads out of………….

  11. I wouldn’t be surprised, were the Gummint to arrange for the unions to make strike noises, so that the Gummint could claim a victory in October campaign ads.


    On track for Libertycon. First veteran beer on me.