SMART-TD votes down labor deal as rail moves closer to national strike

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

Bing Guan | Reuters

SMART-TD, one of the largest railway unions, voted down the tentative agreement with the rail management, raising the likelihood of a strike in December. BLET, the largest union representing engineers, voted to ratify the labor agreement but said it would honor the picket line.

“We stand shoulder to shoulder with our brothers at SMART-TD and others in the railroad industry 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 President Dennis. Pierce.

BMWED, which represents the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Road Employees, is scheduled to strike on December 5 along with The Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS). But BMWED announced it will extend its cooling-off period if one of the major unions chooses not to ratify the tentative labor deal. BRS did not indicate whether it would extend it deadline for a lecture.

SMART-TD, BMWED, AND BRS represent more than 50% of all rail personnel.

BMWED AND BRS have another round of talks with railway operators Monday afternoon on federal sick pay.

During the tentative agreement review process, Pierce and SMART-TD president Jeremy Ferguson traveled the country together and held meetings joint city hall to explain the deal to union members. Both credit unions record turnout as a result of the president’s meeting with members.

BLET, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainers, represents approximately 24,000 professional locomotive engineers and trainers across the United States. BLET is a founding member of the Rail Conference, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

The majority of members of the SMART Transportation Division are conductors – who are divided with our other union members in the vote – but the union also represents brakemen, yardmen, machine service employees and yardmasters, who vote on separate contracts. SMART-TD has a total of 36,000 members. To ratify the tentative agreement, each group of unions must individually agree to the agreement.

The economic impact of the national rail strike

The American Chemistry Council, which represents the company included 3M, Dow, Dupont, BPExxon Mobil and Eli Lillysaid a rail strike will impact about $2.8 billion in chemical cargo a week, and lead to a decline in GDP and renewed inflation.

“AAR data shows that there was a drop of 1,975 carloads of chemical shipments during the week of September 10 when the railroad stopped accepting shipments due to the threat of a strike,” Jeff Sloan, ACC’s senior director of transportation policy, recently told CNBC. “We expect a similarly dramatic reduction in chemical shipments in the event of an embargo this month.”

Other industries, from agriculture to retail, have warned of the economic risks of the strike. The rail industry has been estimated at strike impact on $ 2 billion per day. A strike will affect all major rail operators, incl Pacific Union, South Norfolk and CSX.

UPS, which is the largest customer of rail’, said in a statement from the spokesperson that it has the ability to help manage the situation if an agreement is not reached, which includes flexible and integrated smart logistics network. “Our network planning tools also enable extensive coordination at UPS facilities around the world, including preemptively rerouting packages to alternative routes to minimize unexpected disruptions to our customers,” the spokesperson said.

Based on the September strike preparation guidelines, if BRS sticks with their strike date of December 5, strike prep is expected to begin on November 28, the day the Senate returns from Thanksgiving break. His home was back on the Hill on November 29.

Why a national railroad strike is a big risk this December

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