It’s a freight time for US railways (sorry), as industry workers are threatening to strike as early as Friday. In preparation, Amtrak has already canceled all long distance routes across the country.
This is “necessary to ensure trains can reach their terminals before freight railroad service interruption if a resolution in negotiations is not reached,” Amtrak told CBS News. Adding, “Amtrak will only operate trains this week that we can ensure will have enough time to reach their final destinations by 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 16.”
According to Amtrak, passengers with canceled train reservations are entitled to either a full refund or the option to reschedule their trip. The company will waive any differences in fares for departures through October 31.
Rail unions, BLET, and SMART-TD, which represent 57,000 engineers and conductors continued butting heads with rail carriers on an agreement Wednesday, saying there are still lingering quality of life concerns for workers — many of whom are on call 24/7 every day of the week. This major concern, they say, is one that leaves them no choice but to strike in demand for higher pay and a more fair work-life balance.
The US economy depends heavily on the railroad system and a strike could create a trainwreck of supply-chain delays, job shortages, and another potential rise in inflation to the already shaky economy.
The Biden Administration says that it’s preparing contingency plans to keep business moving if railroad workers strike late this week.