When some think of railroads, we think of 19th-century locomotives and men in overalls shoveling coal into engines. While that view is certainly outdated, railroads are still an integral part of society’s functioning. However, opinions on trains are divided depending on where you are located on the globe.
In the US, they’re mostly thought of as outdated. In Europe, they’re a useful and cheap way to get around. While in the east, we see massively advanced bullet trains that cover vast distances in record speeds.
However, even in the US, where trains aren’t as popular as they are elsewhere, they play a crucial transport role. They’re so vital, in fact, that it’s difficult to operate a modern economy without them.
That’s why it’s such a big deal for businesses when railroad workers unionize and demand better conditions. The US has seen a unionization push recently as workers everywhere are discontent with wages and conditions. Things have reached a boiling point with railroad workers.
Workers have threatened a general, nationwide strike this Friday. If they go through with it, it will be the first nationwide railway strike the US has seen in 30 years.
So if workers’ contracts don’t improve, a union of 60,000 workers threatens to walk out on Friday. However, wages aren’t the biggest concern here; it’s the always-on nature of their jobs. Scheduling is the primary concern since it causes engineers and conductors to be ready at any time. Of course, that demands physical presence and takes a huge physical and quality-of-life toll on the ones affected.
If the walk-off does happen, it means major supply line disruptions in the US. The average person may see an increase in retail good prices as well as product shortages. The next few days are critical and largely depend on decisions by the Biden administration.