November Rail Strike Averted, BMWED Union Date Extended to December

Source: By Mary Kennedy, Progressive Farmer • Posted: Wednesday, November 9, 2022

MINNEAPOLIS (DTN) — A possible rail strike deadline brewing for 12:01 a.m. Nov. 20 has been extended into early December, meaning there will not be a rail strike in November.

After voting no to the tentative rail contract agreement (TA), the status quo period of business as usual for the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division (BMWED) would have expired on Nov. 19, setting in motion the possibility of a rail strike. The Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS) announced their members had also rejected the TA, with their status quo ending date on Dec. 4.

On Nov. 9, the BMWED announced on their website they will extend their status quo date to match the BRS, and should either of the largest two unions, who are still voting, vote no as well, then the status quo of the BMWED and BRS could be extended once again.

“The railroads continue to reject all BMWED and BRS proposals for paid sick leave. There are reports indicating the railroads intend to begin ceasing various rail operations within the next few days, in anticipation of a strike on Nov. 20, even though in September they did not start taking such action until five days before the date of potential exercise of self-help,” noted the BMWED press release. “These service shutdowns would be a premature exercise of self-help by the railroads and a violation of their common carrier obligations to provide services to their customers. These shutdowns would also represent a blatant attempt to cause panic and economic harm to the railroads’ customers and the U.S. economy right before the Thanksgiving holiday.”