It’s looking like the countdown to railway armageddon has begun to count down again.
The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division (BMWED) has rejected the deal put forth by the Presidential Emergency Board and union negotiators. Mark November 19 on your calendars because that’s when the next strike window opens.
BMWED is the third largest union in the negotiation group
The warrooms of both the Class I railroads and the unions they are renegotiating with are open again as BMWED’s membership rejected the contract forged from the Presidential Emergency Board’s recommendation. Nearly 56% of the union’s voting members declined the offer of a 24% pay raise, frozen insurance premiums, and that one day of pre-approved paid sick leave only available during the middle of the week.
As the third-largest union in the negotiations, the BMWED vote carries a lot of weight with those that have not voted – members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), which is also a Teamsters affiliate, and the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers-Transportation Division (SMART-TD).
The unions have a creed, “An injury to one is an injury to all,” which means that if any union strikes, none of the rest will cross the picket lines. Many have said that getting all the unions to agree on a deal would be a Herculean lift.
The countdown is on!!!
When the union rejected the deal on Monday, October 10, a period of renegotiations started. It runs until November 14, with a hold on strikes ending five days later on November 19.
Having a full-on railroad strike a week before Thanksgiving break for Congress would not make many on Capitol Hill happy. Many expect a swift resolution as leaders of both the House and Senate said they had plans in place back when the previous strike threat happened.
Back The Truck Up and FreightWaves will post updates as soon as they develop.