SMART-TD votes down labor deal as rails move closer to national strike


An aerial view of shipping containers and freight trains at the BNSF Los Angeles Intermodal Facility yard in Los Angeles, California, September 15, 2022.

Bing Guan | Reuters

SMART-TD, one of the largest railway unions, has voted down the preliminary agreement with railway management, raising the likelihood of a strike in December. The BLET, the other largest union representing engineers, voted to ratify the labor agreement but said it will respect the picket line.

“We have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with our brothers and sisters in SMART-TD and others in rail labor throughout this process and we will continue to stand in solidarity with them as we approach the finish line in this round of negotiations,” said BLET Chairman Dennis Doorboren.

The BMWED, representing the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees, will strike on December 5 with The Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS). But BMWED announced it would extend the cooling-off period if one of the larger unions voted not to ratify the preliminary contract. BRS has not indicated whether it will extend the deadline for talks.

SMART-TD, BMWED and BRS represent more than 50% of all rail work.

BMWED AND BRS will have talks with railway companies about federal sick pay again on Monday afternoon.

During the preliminary agreement review process, Pierce and SMART-TD president Jeremy Ferguson traveled the country together and held joint town halls to explain the deal to union members. Both unions praise the record turnout as a result of the chairmen’s meetings with members.

BLET, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, represents approximately 24,000 professional locomotive engineers and trainmen in the United States. The BLET is the founding member of the Rail Conference, International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

The majority of SMART Transportation Division members are conductors — who split with the other members of the union on the ballot — but the union also represents brakemen, yard men, motor service workers, and yard masters, who vote on a separate contract. SMART-TD has a total of 36,000 members. In order for the preliminary agreement to be ratified, each of those respective union groups must individually agree to the deal.

Economic impact of the national railway strike

The American Chemistry Council, which represents companies among others 3M, Dow, dupont, BPExxon Mobil and Eli Lillysays a railroad strike would affect about $2.8 billion in chemical cargo per week, and lead to a drop in GDP and renewed inflation.

“AAR data shows that 1,975 carloads of chemicals dropped during the week of Sept. 10, 1975, when railroads stopped accepting shipments because of the threat of a strike,” Jeff Sloan, ACC senior director of transportation policy, recently told CNBC. . “We would expect a similarly dramatic reduction in chemical shipments if there was an embargo this month.”

Other sectors, from agriculture to retail, have warned of the economic risks of a strike. The railroad industry estimates the impact of a strike at $2 billion per day. A strike would affect all major railway companies, including Union Pacific, Southern Norfolk and CSX.

UPS, the railway’s largest customer, said in a statement from a spokesperson that it has the capabilities to help manage the situation if no agreement is reached, including its flexible and integrated smart logistics network. Our network planning tools also enable extensive coordination between UPS facilities around the world, including pre-emptively rerouting packages to alternate lanes to minimize unexpected disruptions for our customers.

Based on the September strike preparation guidelines, if the BRS sticks to their December 5 strike date, strike preparation is expected to begin on November 28, the day the Senate returns from Thanksgiving break. The House is back on the hill on November 29.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share post:


More like this