Potential U.S. Railroad Shutdown Friday, 09/16/22

Hardcoaler Sep 12, 2022

  1. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    With Labor negotiations unsettled with two of twelve rail unions, it appears that that nation's Class I rail carriers are headed for a service shutdown unless a compromise is met. I'm not sure of the details with each carrier, but NS will not accept intermodal traffic beginning tomorrow and automotive traffic will not be accepted beginning Wednesday. Hazmat loads are affected too, as the road doesn't want loads that present a risk sitting in yards.

    Hopefully things will be worked out before week's end. A stoppage would most certainly have rapid consequences for already stretched supply chains. I don't want to spawn a debate, but rather to just let the railfans amongst us know.
     
  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I was reading some public comments a while ago, via a news service page. It is sickening how many people have opinions, yet their knowledge of railroading shows they know almost nothing. A few even think there are five and six person crews still standard on trains, and think that number should be cut down! GOOD GRIEF. :mad::mad::mad:
     
  3. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    That sort of ignorance makes me crazy. The media's focus is usually passengers. Freight is largely off the radar. Consolidated Freightways was the second largest LTL carrier in the U.S. when bankruptcy shut it down in 2002. I don't recall seeing anything about it in the newspapers, but at the same time US Airways was bleeding red ink and their situation, and need for a bailout was front page news for weeks.
     
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  4. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Interesting facts from the Association of American Railroads:
    • The US economy would lose $2 billion every single day that trains don't move.
    • One-third of US grain exports travel by rail. A disruption to those movements could worsen food shortages across the world.
    • About half of all US fertilizer travels by rail
    • 75% of finished vehicles move from factories by rail
    • We'd need 467,000 more long-haul trucks per day to make up the shortfall
     
  5. BNSF FAN

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

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    Since I have not had a chance to read up on this, is it known if this is a planned one day shutdown or is thought to be a longer period of time?
     
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  6. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Scary. People don't realize how bad the supply chain crisis will get if this happens.
     
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  7. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Until a contract is reached, or they are somehow forced back to work.
     
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  8. Pfunk

    Pfunk TrainBoard Member

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    Small retailers know this all too well. The billion dollar box stores can afford these incongruencies because people will still buy their lumber at Home Depot regardless of how high it goes and because the company has enough margin to absorb it. Smaller stores like the one I work at are already fighting just to tread water.

    This would be catastrophic - if not fatal - to almost any small / local business if an infrastructure stoppage were to last more than a few days. Hopefully it gets resolved before anything like that comes to pass. It's very scary tbh.
     
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  9. rch

    rch TrainBoard Member

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    Pretty good summary of the current state of negotiations right now:

    https://www.cnbc.com/2022/09/13/rai...eld-up-by-battle-over-sick-time-policies.html

    One quote from the article stuck out to me:

    “Rail employees are provided with significant time off. Generally, train crew employees have over three to four weeks of paid vacation and over 10 personal leave days. Depending on craft and seniority, these numbers can extend to five weeks of vacation in addition to 14 paid holidays and/or paid leave days,” BNSF told CNBC. “The number of Personal Leave Days was increased by 25% this year which makes it easier for employees to take time off.”​

    That sounds great and all but these time off requests are never granted. I have tried using paid leave days, vacation days and unpaid personal days, all of which are denied. I can kind of understand that on weekend days or holidays, but on a random Wednesday?

    The only reasons they will let you take off are sick, family emergency and FMLA (assuming you've been able to provide documentation the company will accept and you've got a need for it - I do not). So to get a day off for any reason - get an oil change, go to the doctor, move your kid to college, fix the air conditioner, have a family dinner or go fishing - requires you to take off sick and use points. We do not have assigned days off. I worked 28 days straight in July to regain points lost from a family emergency in June. This is the issue, not pay, not insurance (though those are important).
     
  10. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    You can't buy lumber from an empty shelf, no matter the price or size of any operation. Their supplies won't be moving any more than yours. Their beans and two by fours will be sitting on loaded rail cars, waiting to move, just like yours. Their warehouse will dry up, just the same as anyone else's. The price on a shelf label will be meaningless, when there are just dust bunnies in stock.....
     
  11. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Two and one half years after the panic shopping of March, 2020, our shelves still have gaping holes. There are still items out of stock, continuously. We might go four months, then get one stinking case of a fast selling item. Gone before the next day. The next shipment? Weeks, months. With the cooler months now upon us, I expect to see big holes reappear in such as canned soups- just the same as last year.

    The supply chain is still not healing. You cannot shut down a complex, interdependent system, and then start again as if nothing has ever happened. It is just not as simple a process as decades ago. JIT (Just In Time), or "truck-to-shelf" means stores carry minimal, if any back stock. Once the shelves empty, if no trucks or rail cars hit as necessary/scheduled, as the old saying goes "your goose is cooked". Your store is in trouble, regardless of small, single outlet, or big box chain.

    I wonder how this might effect our hobby supplies coming in from such as China? Many of us are waiting on pre-orders. When those ships come to our docks, there won't be enough trucks to substitute for parked trains. Hobby shops will be punched in the nose. I was reading earlier a business article which they estimated we'd need over 400,000 more trucks, in order to make up for no trains. We are already tens of thousands short of truck drivers. So,.... Folks need to be hoping this gets resolved in the next couple of days!
     
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  12. sidney

    sidney TrainBoard Member

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    this all sounds like POLITICS TO ME ????????????
     
  13. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    IT IS NOT. It is about the effect upon business, at the consumer level, should there be a strike. What a shutdown of railroads, vital to our distribution system, will do to us.
     
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  14. rch

    rch TrainBoard Member

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    Strike (action by labor) is not the only option here. The carriers can choose to lock out workers as well. And who knows which party will blink first.
     
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  15. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member

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    Ryan is right. The carriers are just as apt to lock people out before a strike.
     
  16. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    True. That could happen. It might not be good for public opinion of the companies, but that has never stopped their past such choices.

    And either way, the flow of goods to us by those carriers will be hit home just as hard. I wonder if anyone realizes that vehicle fuel supplies will dwindle quickly, or stop? Most ethanol moves by rail. A lot of crude as well. Planes won't fly. Cars and trucks won't roll. I believe there will be an action taken which precludes a shutdown.
     
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  17. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    If there's a work interruption, I think it will be brief because the Federal government will force workers to return to work while negotiations restart. As has been said here, our economy will be in serious trouble within days. Even a brief stoppage will be enough to put a serious crimp in supply chains here and overseas too.
     
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  18. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    The down side of such an edict is that the RRs then have an advantage over the employees/unions. It can be dragged on indefinitely, unless regulators have an ability to limit time available.
     
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  19. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Heard on ABC radio news a short time ago- There is a tentative agreement. No strike. Terms as yet not public.
     
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  20. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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