• National Railroads Strike in September?

  • For topics on Class I and II passenger and freight operations more general in nature and not specifically related to a specific railroad with its own forum.
For topics on Class I and II passenger and freight operations more general in nature and not specifically related to a specific railroad with its own forum.

Moderator: Jeff Smith

  by John_Perkowski
 
It looks as though labor and the railroads are coming to an impasse on new contracts. These articles from Railway Age are backgrounders:

First: Grasping at Straws to Avoid a Shutdown by John J Brennan III

Second, First: Yes, a Rail Shutdown Can Occur, by Frank N. Wilner

Brief, fair use quote from the Wilner article
The railroads’ rationale for pressuring Wall Street wizzes to downplay the probability of a rail strike or management lockout initiating a nationwide rail shutdown—instead preferring they say the event is “unlikely”—is that shutdown chatter unnerves shippers and drives those with non-rail options to other modes well ahead of the conjectured event.

There is, indeed, a likelihood of a nationwide rail shutdown as early as mid-September if rail labor and management do not voluntarily settle sooner.
  by BandA
 
another question is what will be the impact on Amtrak and Commuter Rail lines.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Mr. B&A, Amtrak is not part of the Conference (NCCC) and bargains separately with the Organizations. I would see no effect upon the Corridor.

But I like to think that the Act has been a good "peacekeeper" over the years; let's all hope its "track record" can continue through this dispute.
  by BandA
 
No effect on the corridor, but any trains running on host railroads, or lines dispatched by railroads that are on strike would be affected. For example, the Lake Shore Limited and the Downeaster use some CSX track.
  by STrRedWolf
 
BandA wrote: Wed Jul 27, 2022 1:54 pm another question is what will be the impact on Amtrak and Commuter Rail lines.
On the NEC, nothing. Everywhere else? If it's not owned by the transit agency operating the service, it's shut down.

A limited-to-my-knowledge guess would be:
  • Metro-North, LIRR, SEPTA Regional Rail, MBTA Commuter Rail, regular service.
  • MARC, Penn Line (NEC) service only.
  • Amtrak, NEC/Keystone service only. Trains that go outside these bounds are truncated or canceled, bus subsitutions on trains that are "stopped in their tracks".
This, of course, depends on Amtrak et all's unions not being those at the negotiation table. If they are, then everyone's shut down, no exceptions.
  by John_Perkowski
 
There is also the small matter of refusing to cross picket lines. Remember, both CSX AND NS have some freight moving on the old Pennsy…
  by BandA
 
I don't think this is focused on passenger service, but they may be collateral damage. If passenger service shuts down it will hurt the union positions. The articles linked by John imply/state that the unions want an agreement before the new congress/senate which might be republican controlled. Unfortunately, gridlock! To summarize: Biden needs legislation to force an agreement, does not have authority to impose one with an executive order as the law is too detailed. Agreement seems unlikely without a strike. I suppose transportation authorities could take over MOW responsibilities immediately, they could take back or take over dispatching from the freight operators but not immediately. If it is prolonged I suppose the STB could allow passenger authorities to exercise rights over freight roads that are in breach of providing services. Unlikely that Amtrak employees or employees of state authorities or state contractors are going to cross picket lines. Unions might arrange to not have pickets in certain places, allowing passenger authorities to continue some functions?? It may get messy with secondary boycotts, and management locking out employees?
  by BandA
 
I am assuming that none of the unions are going to go on strike against the passenger railroads. Do some of the freight railroads still operate passenger service?
  by RandallW
 
If the dispatchers for a section of track join the strike, no train is moving on that section, passenger or not, unless railroad management has some non-union employees who can take over those responsibilities. Is ATDA joining the other unions?
  by west point
 
Strike very ,messy situaton. Might have some management dispatching. Management operating any trains? Happened in the past but probably not unless person has an engineer's federal license , Conductors as needed ??? Might be tried to prove single person in loco works OK.
  by John_Perkowski
 
RandallW wrote: Thu Jul 28, 2022 6:57 am If the dispatchers for a section of track join the strike, no train is moving on that section, passenger or not, unless railroad management has some non-union employees who can take over those responsibilities. Is ATDA joining the other unions?
And that is the point of my posting this!

BTW, on UP, Harriman Center in Omaha controls everything but the yards.

What about BNSF, NS, CSX, CP, CN, and KCS?
  by mmi16
 
John_Perkowski wrote: Fri Jul 29, 2022 2:53 pm
RandallW wrote: Thu Jul 28, 2022 6:57 am If the dispatchers for a section of track join the strike, no train is moving on that section, passenger or not, unless railroad management has some non-union employees who can take over those responsibilities. Is ATDA joining the other unions?
And that is the point of my posting this!

BTW, on UP, Harriman Center in Omaha controls everything but the yards.

What about BNSF, NS, CSX, CP, CN, and KCS?
On UP Dispatchers are non-contract employees. I believe all the other carriers Dispatchers are covered by ATDA. ATDA contracts have been given the same treatment as all the other craft contracts. I would expect ATDA to participate in and honor any strike activities.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Mr. MMI, somewhere before I had learned that train dispatching on UP was done with non-Agreement employees. I had further learned that it is "a stop along the way" as part of their Management Trainee program.

It also can result in "dispatching by the book" as distinct from "dispatching to move the traffic". I once learned of an incident from a railfan friend who was riding, post-merger, Amtrak #6, Zephyr, somewhat to the east of Sacramento (let's say Auburn). Here was a case of the Zephyr was running behind a freight moving at maybe 25mph - and apparently this continued all the way over Donner to Truckee. He was astounded that the Zephyr wasn't runaround the freight, and was sure a skilled (Agreement) Train Dispatcher would have found the opportunity to have done so.

But it should come as no surprise that any outside observer of industry affairs (sure means railfans) does not know the whole story; and even if held this guy (now deceased) was quite astute with good "situational awareness" traits, still didn't know all pertinent parameters.
  by JayBee
 
Canadian Pacific subsidiaries in the US are not part of the National Carriers Conference bargaining process and their contract is not up for negotiation, so Amtrak could continue to run the Adirondack, and the Hiawathas. They might also be able to run the Empire Builder as far west as St. Paul, although with BNSF dispatching the St. Paul sub from St. Croix to Hoffman Ave. that might be a problem.
  by STrRedWolf
 
https://www.trains.com/trn/news-reviews ... or-strike/
CLEVELAND — The union representing train dispatchers has authorized a strike in the event a new labor agreement is not reached under provisions of the Railway Labor Act, which currently has the contract dispute in the hands of a Presidential Emergency Board.

The American Train Dispatchers Association says in a statement that over 99% of those voting have approved a strike, citing “their frustration in waiting over three years without a raise and the railroads’ refusal to bargain in good faith, especially in light of their astronomical profits …” The most recent offer from railroads, the union says, “would shift huge healthcare costs on our employees along with [providing] inadequate General Wage Increases that would be insufficient to combat the high inflation period that has caused financial hardship on each of our members.”

The Presidential Emergency Board, which heard presentations from each side as part of a week of hearings last month, is due to present its recommendations on or before Aug. 15, which will trigger a 30-day cooling-off period for the sides to reach an agreement. If no agreement is reached by the end of that 30-day period, “the ADTA, along with the other rail unions, are free to exercise self-help” or railroads could impose a lockout.
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