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USA: Possible nationwide rail strikes ahead

US Senate votes to force all US rail unions to accept terms of the tentative contract agreement

Update: 2 December 2022

Following our most recent update below of four of the country’s 12 rail unions rejecting a deal brokered between rail companies and union leaders in September, the US Senate voted on Thursday (1st December) to force all US rail unions to accept terms of the tentative contract agreement. The vote ends the threat of a country-wide rail strike that could have begun Dec. 9, which leaders had warned would have had devastating consequences for the nation’s economy. It is the first time in 30 years Congress has involved itself in rail labor negotiations.

The bill now goes to President Joe Biden for his signature, which is expected to be actioned quickly. 

23rd November 2022:

Following our recent update on the US rail worker strikes, a 4th union has this week voted down the revised offer proposed by US rail carriers.

While one of the sector's smaller unions, BLET, voted to endorse the agreement, the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) union found that 50.9% of its members were in disagreement with the proposed deal, resulting in them becoming the 4th out of 12 US rail unions to vote down the offer, increasing the possibility of strike action in early December.

The unions in disagreement with the deal have stated that their main grievance remains the issue of paid sick leave for rail workers, proposing that they are prepared to begin winding down and reducing services ahead of the end of the official cooling off period on 9th December in readiness for the strikes.

Industry groups are now calling on the US administration in a bid to avert costly strike action.

In parallel, North America's west coast ports remain at an impasse amidst ongoing labour negotiations.

In the event of rail or port strikes, Woodland will work with those affected to find alternative solutions to minimise delays and additional costs likely to be incurred. If you have any questions about your North American shipment or would like to discuss your options, please contact our team here.

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