In preparation for a possible strike starting on Friday, September 16th, Class 1 railroads have started a cooling-off period designed to ease the transition to a strike, should one happen. While a strike is not inevitable, railroads are ensuring that security-sensitive cargo and hazmat don’t complicate the stoppage. By issuing an embargo on Friday, September 9th, Norfolk Southern and BNSF communicated that a line in the sand is rapidly approaching. 


Other railroads, including CSX, UP, and KCS have not advised of any impending cargo embargoes, but they’re still looking at work stoppage if the strike starts. The possibility of the strike costing the US economy $2 billion has the Biden administration ready to step in if necessary to smooth the path toward an agreement. 


After a summer of updates on the ILWU longshoremen negotiations at the west coast ports, the news of a possible rail strike comes at the worst possible time. That the fight has dwindled down to two of twelve unions holding out for quality-of-life options, the stoppage could happen due to a draconian attendance policy that saw workers penalized for taking a day off to attend their parents’ funeral. 


With too few workers to handle the amount of work that crosses the rail, across which 40% of long-distance transportation occurs, the past six years have seen huge reductions in labor to pad the shareholders’ profit. With some workers stuck on a perpetual 12-hour per day on-call schedule where they can’t be more than an hour away from their job, service satisfaction from rail customers is at an all-time low. 


While we at RS Express prepare for a strike, we’re asking our clients to understand that some situations might require a deviation from the norm. By building up contingency plans for every option, we can stay well ahead of the curve as our custom-tailored solutions keep your cargo moving. With a bit of advanced notice and flexible planning, our logistics experts can help you navigate the complexities of the fallout of labor negotiations. Contact us today and let us show you a new solution.