Economic Railroad Strike

Gizmo Garcia (12th), Reporter

Last week, we narrowly dodged a huge economic loss that would have involved railroads being stopped and billions of dollars being lost. The loss would have been due to a strike in an attempt to increase the amount of income the union would make.

Unions and management came to an agreement on Thursday, The Union threatening to cripple US supply chains and push prices higher for many goods. The agreement that was made between the sides that concluded 20 hours of talking between the unions’ leadership and the railroads’ labor negotiators. 

President Joe Biden himself came to personally talk to the negotiators, stressing the harm that could come to everyone if the railroad had shut down. Thankfully the strike was narrowly averted. 

The outcome had turned out to help everyone in need, about 30% of the nation’s freight moves by railroads so if the strike had happened, billions of dollars would have been gone in weeks. The deal ended up giving the union a 14% raise and raises to 24% while receiving a cash bonus of 1,000 a year, so on average 11,000$ payment per person. It was a win for everyone but specifically the railroad workers since they had not gone on strike for 30 years. If the strike had gone through there would have been massive economic risk and consequences but in the end all turned out well. 

I interviewed Pitman High Senior Conlin Yonano asking them “What do you know about the railroad strike?”

Yonano replied with, “Well I took a class and we actually learned about that and it sounded pretty awful, something about the union going on strike and it being really costly.” 

I then asked him, “What do you think would have happened if the strike went through?” 

He replied with “I’m not really sure, but there would be a lot of problems around the world.” 

Then I finally asked “Do you think we will keep seeing more of this in the future?”

In which he responded with, “Well if things turned out the right way then I think we won’t be seeing problems anytime soon,” concluding the interview. 

If things had gone through with the strike it was estimated that a nationwide rail service interruption would have idled more than 7,000 trains daily and cost the economy more than $2 billion a day, leading to a 14 billion dollar loss a week. With this win It’ll give a clear signal to all other unions and to others. 

We can work together, as President Joe Biden said himself that “the agreement would help workers get medical care and help companies attract and retain workers. Biden says, “This agreement is validation — validation of what I’ve always believed,” he said. “Unions and management can work together — can work together for the benefit of everyone.” 

At the end of the day all is good and we can only go up from here. I think this will help us improve later for times when such a problem were to arise again, which probably won’t be for another couple decades since the last strike like this was 30 years ago.