November 30, 2022:
This afternoon the House passed a resolution to head off the Rail Strike by imposing that the tentatively agreed upon terms from September be accepted by a vote of 290-237. They also added on a subsequent bill/resolution that would guarantee 7 days sick time to meet a portion of what the unions had been holding out for. That was also passed within the session but by a thinner margin. It now will move immediately to the Senate and will go through their presentation and voting process. It sounds as if there is likely more than enough support to pass the resolution that would offset the strike within the session (Which is the most important resolution), however there is debate over how the resolution on sick time will be debated and accepted by the Senate and how that process will play out.
This quick action by Congress is a significant step towards closing out this multi-year labor negotiation. Due to this positive momentum and as this process continues to move along, our position remains similar to when the September strike was looming in that we do not recommend any rash or immediate shift away from intermodal as even if a stoppage is to occur it would likely be very short. However, if you feel a need to make a switch our team is available to work up contingencies for over the road options in the event they are needed and is available for those discussions if you would like to have them.
November 23, 2022:
Following the voting on November 21st, final ratification of the agreement between the railroads and the twelve unions has still not been accomplished. Here is the latest:
All of the unions have now reported in the position of their membership with eight of the twelve ratifying the agreement. Dialogue remains open between the Class 1 Rails (NCCC) and the 4 unions that have rejected the offering. As of today, all four of these unions have agreed to align the end date for their cooling off period to December 9th. This will remove December 4th as the next major deadline and should keep any work stoppages or strikes from occurring prior to December 9th.
As noted previously, it is worth reminding that the unions have all publicly said that if one union strikes they will all honor the picket line and also initiate a strike as well even if they have already ratified. Much like the previous strike threat back in September, if a strike does occur there is a high likelihood that Washington will quickly intervene and order the unions back to work. All of the same mechanisms and protocols around these negotiations remain in place for this portion just as they did then. For that reason we still feel, as do the railroads, that any work stoppage that were to take place would be very short in terms of its duration given the immediate actions that would be set in motion.
The stakes are a bit higher this time around for the unions though, as should Congress have to intervene they could choose to impose the original PEB recommendation as the terms of the deal and force ratification which would forgo the additional concessions that the unions received in final negotiations in September. Many of those items added late were so meaningful they were deemed ‘precedent setting’ from a labor negotiation standpoint so there will be pressure to avoid that level of intervention.
Rail Ratification Dates – NRLC 11/23 Update:
- TCU: Ratified
- BRC: Ratified
- IBEW: Ratified
- ATDA: Ratified
- BMWED: Not Ratified / Status Quo Maintained* (Cooling off period extended to Dec 9th)
- NCFO: Ratified
- SMART-M: Ratified
- BRS: Not Ratified / Status Quo Maintained (Cooling off period extended to Dec 9th)
- IAM: Ratified
- IBB: Not Ratified / Status Quo Maintained (Cooling off period Dec 9th)
- BLET: Ratified
- SMART-TD: Not Ratified / Status Quo Maintained (Cooling off period Dec 9th)
*Potential labor action could occur beginning 0001ET, December 9th
Based on history this situation will likely remain fluid and again go right down to the wire in terms of locking up final negotiations.
Our position remains similar to when the September strike was looming in that we do not recommend any rash or immediate shift away from intermodal as even if a stoppage is to occur it would likely be very short. However, if you feel a need to make a switch our team is available to work up contingencies for over the road options in the event they are needed and is available for those discussions if you would like to have them.
We will continue to monitor the situation and advise of any updates or material developments as we receive them.
Radiant Road & Rail provides customer-centric expertise in the areas of temperature controlled and dry intermodal; OTR and LTL trucking; asset and brokered drayage; transloading; and other value-added services. With long established relationships across these service offerings, they are well situated to provide diverse solutions in a challenging and competitive market.
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