In more labor news, members of a union representing U.S. freight rail conductors have voted to reject a tentative labor contract. It’s the fourth — and largest — of a dozen rail industry unions to reject the agreement brokered by the Biden administration last September. Many of those rejecting the deal said the tentative contract failed to address chronic staffing shortages, long hours and unpredictable schedules. If any of the unions decides to strike, others will honor their picket lines, setting up a potential nationwide strike by more than 100,000 workers as soon as December 9. Jeremy Ferguson, president of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers, said railroad executives can avert a strike by returning to the table to bargain in good faith.
Jeremy Ferguson: “It was profits above all else. Every quarter, they wanted to lower their operating ratios so they could please Wall Street, and they did not worry about pleasing their employees. I think, you know, a day of reckoning is coming that they are going to have to realize, one way or another, that they have to treat their employees with respect.”