On Friday, September 16, the United States could see its first major rail strike and/or rail lockout since the early ’90s. Railroad workers have reached the end of their rope after years of enduring dramatic staff cuts that have piled more work onto fewer workers, along with exhausting schedules and draconian attendance policies that have made it impossible to live and reasonably plan their lives. These cost-cutting, profit-maximizing policies are part of a larger, decades-long trend that workers say have destroyed the freight rail industry. For years, quality of service for freight rail customers and shippers, and quality of life for railroad employees, has plummeted, all while prices, profits, and stock buybacks have skyrocketed. While many are understandably concerned about the seismic damage a national rail strike initiated by the unions, or a lockout initiated by the rail carriers, could do to the supply chain, railroad workers are the ones taking a stand to save the supply chain from the corporate greed that has already done irreparable damage to the freight rail industry. In this urgent episode, recorded on Sunday, September 11, we talk with Jay, a longtime train dispatcher and recent guest on the show, and Joe, a locomotive engineer, about the ongoing crisis on the nation’s railroads and about the latest updates on the dispute between the rail unions and rail carriers as we countdown to the strike/lockout deadline on 12am EDT, September 16.
Additional links/info below…
- Shiyin Chen & Keith Laing, Bloomberg, “US Freight Railroads to Cut Services as Union Talks Fail, Report Says“
- SMART-TD, BLET Joint Statement on Rail Embargo
- Jeff Stein, Lauren Kaori Gurley, & Tyler Pager, The Washington Post, “Freight Rail Strike Threatens Supply Chains, Prompting White House Planning“
- Working People, “Jay“
- Maximillian Alvarez & Mel Buer, The Real News Network, “Is the US Headed for a National Rail Strike”
- Mel Buer, The Real News Network, “Fired Up Rail Workers Rally in Galesburg, Illinois, as Potential National Strike Looms“
- Mel Buer, The Real News Network, “Corporate Billionaires Are Wrecking the Supply Chain. Just Look at the Railroads“
- Maximillian Alvarez, The Real News Network, “Railroad Workers Are Being Ground to Dust. Who Will Help Them?“
- Maximillian Alvarez, The Real News Network, “Court Blocks Railroad Workers from Striking Over Draconian Attendance Policy“
- Joe DeManuelle-Hall, Labor Notes, “Rail Workers Reject Contract Recommendations, Say They’re Ready to Strike“
Permanent links below…
- Leave us a voicemail and we might play it on the show!
- Labor Radio / Podcast Network website, Facebook page, and Twitter page
- In These Times website, Facebook page, and Twitter page
- The Real News Network website, YouTube channel, podcast feeds, Facebook page, and Twitter page
Featured Music (all songs sourced from the Free Music Archive: freemusicarchive.org)
- Jules Taylor, “Working People Theme Song
The transcript of this story is in progress and will be made available as soon as possible.