Advocacy News – Nov. 9, 2022
In midst of growing economic pressures driven primarily by inflation,and labor shortages, it is imperative that decision makers work collaboratively to address hurdles contributing to challenges in the marketplace. This week, the MI Chamber supported calls to address disagreements between the railroad industry and their associated unions. An impasse in negotiations has now reached an important milestone, with the potential for a mass strike among all the major railroad unions by Nov. 19. This would inflict a crippling blow at the worst time for our economy, communities and families.
The Chamber joined other business organizations in calling on Congress to impose union contracts unless ongoing disputes are resolved immediately. U.S. Labor Secretary Matt Walsh agreed that a solution by Congress may be necessary so that the effective shutdown of a critical mode of transportation for goods and services in the country can be avoided.
About 30% of U.S. freight, when measured by weight and distance traveled, moves by rail. Prices of goods from gasoline to food to cars could soar if trains halt. In addition, factories could be forced to shut down temporarily due to parts shortages. Consumer goods shortages could also be a casualty of a railway shutdown, effects that would be exacerbated heading into the holiday season.
The deals that have been rejected to date have been lucrative. They include an immediate 14% raise with back pay dating to 2020 and pay raises totaling 24% during the four-year life of the contracts, which run from 2020 through 2024. They also give laborers cash bonuses of $1,000 a year. The backpay and bonuses equate to an average payment of $11,000 per worker once the deal is ratified.
The Chamber will continue to advocate for a bipartisan solution by Congress should negotiations continue to remain fruitless.
For more information, contact Mike Alaimo at email@example.com.