We narrowly avoided a rail strike. Now what?

The economy was spared — but what about the rail workers?

On Friday, President Biden signed a bill narrowly preventing a rail worker strike.

We narrowly avoided a rail strike. Now what?

The US economy may be breathing a sigh of relief — such a strike could cost the country $2B+ a day — but many rail workers aren’t exactly pleased with the outcome.

For context, the rail industry operates under a system known as “precision-scheduled railroading” — PSR, for short. One aspect of PSR is driving efficiencies by transporting cargo on fewer but longer trains, which requires fewer workers.

  • In practice, this system leaves little to no room for things like flexible schedules and paid sick leave. That’s especially true for an industry that’s shed 29% of its workforce since 2016, and has seen embargoes skyrocket as a result.

The new deal was able to secure workers raises, among some other benefits, but not the paid sick leave workers were hoping for. “That fight isn’t over,” Biden said.

For more on how a rail strike would impact the economy, read our previous coverage.

Topics: Economy

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