A national railroad strike in the U.S. that threatened to harm cross-border trade with Canada has
been averted – for now.
U.S. President Joe Biden announced that a tentative agreement has been reached to give rail
workers better pay and improved working conditions.
The new agreements provide railway workers with a 24% wage increase during the five-year
contract period from 2020 through 2024, including an immediate payout that averages $11,000
U.S. upon ratification of the deal, according to the Association of American Railroads.
The tentative agreements are subject to ratification by the unions’ membership in a vote.
Tentative agreements have been reached with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and
Trainmen, the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers,
and the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, which collectively represent 60,000 workers,
according to the Association of American Railroads.
Negotiators from railroad carriers and unions met in U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh’s office
as the two sides tried to negotiate a deal ahead of tomorrow’s (September 16) strike deadline.
Negotiations centered around securing more pay, changes to sick leave policy, and working
Rail trade between the U.S. and Canada accounts for 16% of total cross-border trade,
according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
The Association of American Railroads estimated that a shutdown of the national rail network
would cost the American economy $2 billion U.S. per day.
One sector in Canada that would be especially vulnerable to a U.S. railroad strike is agriculture.
Farmers rely on this time of year to transport their products south of the border, and without
trains, that would be almost impossible.
Canadian National Railway (CNR) earns nearly half (47%) of its revenue from its U.S. business
through cross-border trade and domestic operations.