Potential railroad strike could make supply chain issues worse

Union coalitions negotiating contracts with freight rail companies, including Jacksonville-based CSX

As the nation continues to grapple with supply chain issues, concerns are growing that more than 100,000 railroad workers could strike as early as Friday.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As the nation continues to grapple with supply chain issues, concerns are growing that more than 100,000 railroad workers could strike as early as Friday.

Several railroad worker unions are currently in the middle of contract negotiations. Two major union coalitions are negotiating contracts with freight rail companies, including Jacksonville-based CSX.

If negotiations aren’t settled by Friday, what’s called a “cooling off” period ends and the strike could begin. An estimate by the railroad industry is it could cost the country roughly $2 billion a day.

There has been progress. The railroads have reached deals with nine of 12 unions.

James Poindexter, a labor and employment attorney with Delegal and Poindexter, says large negotiations like these often involve several unions.

“Often times companies can have multiple labor unions representing different bargaining units within the organization. For instance, a utility company may have one union representing people that work on the lines, others water and sewer,” Poindexter said.

A big issue involves quality of life and medical leave for workers.

Right now, there are several things happening nationally as the country braces for a potential strike. Amtrak has already canceled some long-distance routes.

News4JAX reached out to both the governor’s office and the Florida Department of Transportation, which is monitoring this situation and how it could affect Florida’s supply chain.

“FDOT remains committed to the flow of goods and services across our modes of transportation. Whenever possible, FDOT works with industry partners to ensure the flow of goods and services are not interrupted,” FDOT said.


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