An agreement has been reached between the railroads and their workers to avoid the looming work stoppage that was to begin at 11:01 CDT this evening. Here is a statement released in response from the Ankeny, Iowa based Soy Transportation Coalition:
Early this morning, a tentative agreement was reached between the National Carriers’ Conference Committee – representing the nation’s leading railroads – and the remaining unions representing railroad workers – the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers – Transportation Division, and the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen. While subject to ratification by union membership, this tentative agreement will prevent a potential railroad strike. If an agreement between the two sides had not been reached by 12:01 am (EDT) on Friday, September 16th, a railroad strike, lockout, or slowdown was possible. Throughout this past week, railroads had increasingly been dialing down and suspending service due to the potential for a network stoppage starting on Friday.
The tentative agreement will provide rail employees at 24 percent wage increase during the five year period of the contract (2020-2024) – consistent with the recommendations of the Presidential Emergency Board. An immediate average payout of $11,000 will be provided upon ratification.
We are extremely pleased both sides were able to arrive at an agreement. Our nation’s railroads are integral to the success of the American farmer. Without cost-effective, reliable rail service, so much of what farmers produce will never connect with our domestic and international customers. American farmers are responding to the challenges of global food insecurity. We need our nation’s railroads to be a reliable partner in this effort. A strike, lockout, or significant slowdown would have imposed significant harm on agriculture – particularly on the eve of harvest. The tentative agreement allows farmers and U.S. agriculture to proceed with doing what they do best – being the highest quality, most reliable provider of food to the world.