A second union has voted against ratifying a proposed contract between the Class I railroads and their workforce, increasing the possibility of a rail strike before the end of the year, according to POLITICO Pro (subscription).

The background: Railroads and their unions have been working for three years to ink a new long-term contract.

  • In September, the U.S. Class I railroads and labor unions composing the rail workforce agreed to a late-hour deal that temporarily averted a strike, pending ratification votes by each union’s rank-and-file membership.
  • While half of the unions involved have already ratified the agreement, two unions have now refused to do so. Without a contract, the rail workforce could strike as soon as next month.

Why it matters: “The freight rail industry, which is responsible for moving some 40 percent of long-haul goods, is critical to the nation’s economy—including supplies needed for electricity and drinking water, not to mention commodities like food and gifts for the holiday shopping season.”

Our action: The NAM recently joined more than 300 organizations in urging the White House to work with the railroad unions and management and ensure that the tentative agreement is ratified by all parties in order to prevent a strike.

  • “It is paramount that these contracts now be ratified, as a rail shutdown would have a significant impact on the U.S. economy and lead to further inflationary pressure,” the coalition said. “Because the White House played such a central role in the process, we believe it can be helpful in continuing to move the process forward in a positive direction.”