Is Choo-Choo Charlie Railroading Us?

Steam Locomotive Crashes Through Train Station!There’s a lot of noise lately about a potential railroad workers strike, which would cost the economy $2 Billion per day: An economy which under Joe Biden is already experiencing the worst inflation in over 40 years, supply chain problems, fuel shortages, and possibly a prolonged recession.

Currently America has 12 Railroad unions representing approximately 125,000 workers, with a little over half of those workers represented by the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division of the Teamsters Union. In order for any labor contract to pass all 12 Unions must approve the contract.

So, while you face the possibility of empty shelves this holiday season why not compare YOUR job’s salary and benefits to those of a Class I Rail Worker? And then maybe reach for those “Holiday Spirits”?

As of 2020, the average railroad worker…

…makes more than $126,000 per year,
…ranks within the top 10% of pay for all industries,
…has a “Platinum” level healthcare plan, as defined by ObamaCare: The best in the country,
…receives 3 weeks paid vacation
(up to 7 weeks maximum for senior employees)
…receives 14 days paid personal leave,
…receives paid and/or supplemental sick leave, for up to 52 weeks,
…can receive comprehensive sick leave after being sick for only four days.

Read more here, from the National Railroad Labor Conference (NRLC).

What the Railroad Unions are demanding…

…an immediate 14.1% pay raise, effective back to Jan. 1, 2020
(or about $35,532, on average)
…a 24% total pay increase by the end of 2024
(or about $30,502, on average)
…a $1,000 automatic bonus payment every year, retroactive to 2020
…a $5,000 sign-on bonus
…an additional 7 days of paid sick time
…expanded healthcare benefits
…employees pay no more than 15% of their healthcare insurance premiums
…employee’s contribution to healthcare insurance premiums will be capped after 2025,
…an additional day of personal leave, for a total of 15 days per year.

The result?
If passed, the average Class I railroad worker will…

…receive $11,000 immediately
…receive an additional day of paid personal leave

By the end of 2024 the average rail worker will…
…be making $160,000 per year in total compensation (about $70,000 more than the average US worker)
…have improved travel cost reimbursement
…receive best-in-class healthcare (here’s an example comparison of plans)
…significantly lower employee cost-sharing compared to other industries

FYI:Choo-Choo Charlie” is the mascot for Hersey Corporation’s Good & Plenty Candy, America’s oldest branded candy.
Thanks for Reading! (and, thanks to the Association of American Railroads for their summary of negotiation updates)

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