Rail strike continues to loom

Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 5:56 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Another setback in efforts to stop a rail strike occurred Monday, as SMART-TD, one of the largest railroad unions, rejected a deal with railroads. The possible strike is set to take place in two weeks and could have major economic impacts on the county and the holidays.

What has been a months-long battle between rail unions and rail companies continues to roll on as another union rejected a deal, increasing the possibility of a strike on December 9.

Unions continue to demand paid federal sick leave.

”If we want paid sick leave, we need concessions on either health care or wage increases,” said Deven Mantz, legislative director for Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees.

A strike would have a huge impact on the upcoming holiday shopping season, as supply chain issues would also occur. Imports that North Dakota relies on would take longer to arrive.

”At a time when we already have supply chain restraints, it would be very problematic to have a rail strike as well. So we are trying to negotiate and prevent that,” said Senator John Hoeven.

The Railway Labor Act gives Congress the ability to order workers to continue working their jobs while negations occur. The last strike in 1991 was resolved by Congress using those powers.

”It sounds like Congress will intervene if the time comes due to the supply chain issues that we’re having,” said Mantz

The rail industry estimates the impact of the strike would be $2 billion per day.

403 million goods were exported and imported by railroads in North Dakota in 2019.