Impasse at the Crossing: Railroad Strike

A strike on the railroad has become possible as the thirty-day cooling-off ends Friday, and there are still two unions holding out for quality-of-life benefits, including vacation time, sick time, and the attendance policy. Due to the possibility of a work stoppage, many Class 1 railroads are initiating embargoes and service alterations to slowly wind down so a strike won’t cause problems with security-sensitive cargo and hazardous materials. 

While updates are coming in from railroads, the information we currently have is as follows:

  • Union Pacific (UP) – Embargo on security-sensitive and hazmat cargo 
  • Norfolk Southern (NS) – Embargo on security-sensitive and hazmat cargo
  • Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) – Embargo on security-sensitive and hazmat cargo
  • Canadian National (CN) – Embargo on all hazardous and over-dimensional freight with no movement of specialized cargo. 

Many expect the Biden Administration and Congress to step in with either an emergency order or other means to prevent the supply chain disruption that comes with a strike. Because 40% of all long-distance transportation comes from rail, the strike could cost the US economy up to $2 billion daily. While both sides remain in active negotiations, ten of the twelve unions have reached a tentative agreement, but the holdouts are the largest. Both the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and the International Association of Sheet Metal Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers together have more than 90,000 members, a significant portion of the labor force. 

Argents works hard to keep current on the events that might impact your cargo, and where rail is concerned, those issues can ripple out to touch air, ocean, and trucking shipments. When disruption starts, it can quickly flare up to cause delays. It’s our responsibility to have contingencies and options in place that offer our clients a solution to maneuver around these issues and put your cargo first. If you’re worried the rail strike might hit close to home, your friends at Argents are ready to assist. Contact us today and have the peace of mind knowing we will keep your cargo moving.