The economy is suffering as it is under President Joe Biden. A failure to reach an agreement with a railroad union may make it worse.
The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters is threatening to strike if a satisfactory deal can't be hammered out between the federal government and the union, the Daily Caller reported. A strike would threaten an already rocky supply chain.
The BMWED includes 12 unions. Four have ratified the current offer, but all would have to accept to avoid a strike.
Nearly 12,000 BMWED members turned out to vote down the latest offer over inadequate sick leave and safety. However, the deal on the table was already generous, including $5,000 in annual bonuses, a more lax attendance policy for those with medical issues, and a 24% guaranteed raise over the next five years.
"The majority of the BMWED membership rejected the tentative national agreement and we recognize and understand that result," BMWED President Tony Cardwell said in a news release. "BMWED members are concerned with the direction of their employers and the mismanagement and greed in which they have consistently implemented, and are united in their resolve to improve their working conditions across the entire Class I rail network."
A railroad strike would mean more supply chain disruptions as much of the nation's coal, oil, and chemical products are shipped that way. The Association of American Railroads estimates it would cost the economy $2 billion per day.
Because roughly 40% of long-distance commerce is through the rails, a strike would require nearly 500,000 more trucks on the roads to make up the difference. This is no small feat and would be nearly impossible, the American Trucking Association contends.
With the Biden administration's deal formally rejected, BMWED will have to enter back into negotiations. In the meantime, the unions are not permitted to strike until Nov. 19, five days after Congress is back in session.
Biden's economy is already in a tailspin. If the railway unions strike, the cost of those goods normally shipped via freight trains will increase exponentially -- and we can't afford that right now.