Rail Strike

U.S. freight railroads prepare for potential strike disruption


Contract negotiations between railways including BNSF, Union Pacific (UNP.N), CSX and unions representing 115,000 workers hit an impasse
this summer after more than two years of talks.
Failure to reach a settlement before a cooling-off period expires on Sept. 16 could open the door to strikes,
employer lockouts and congressional intervention.

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damaging a fragile supply chain is a heck of a bargaining chip.

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damaging a fragile supply chain is a heck of a bargaining chip.

The truism of labour relations is that many a job is paid not based on the value of the work, but on the magnitude of the damage that blocking that industry can cause.
The ticket taker at a theatre is paid less than the ticket taker doing precisely identical work at the high-profile national high speed railway.

Once upon a time post offices were economically critical, and their work forces were absurdly well paid in most countries, because they could shut down the economy by downing tools.
There was a fine case in Canada of bribery at the post office–a supervisor taking huge bribes to get people jobs.
But who would pay a bribe to take a job that was paid a fair wage? You’d only pony up if the job is overpaid.

But since then the importance of letters has fallen, and so has the real pay.
The jobs themselves are largely unchanged. To put it bluntly, what has changed is the blackmail value of the work.

It’s one of those hidden implications of the goal of “equal pay for equal work”.