Rail Disruptions


Friday, February 24, 2023: 

Progressive Railroading: “Railroads and unions settle on paid sick leave”

Friday, December 2, 2022: 

This morning President Biden signed legislation that imposes the tentative contract on the rail unions that did not ratify and could have went on strike 12/9/22.

The legislation blocks a national strike by the rail unions.

Congress has powers by law to block strikes involving transportation, it does not have that authority in other labor disputes.

Thursday, December 1, 2022:

Transport Topics: “Senate Passes Measure to Avoid Rail Strike”

Wednesday, November 30, 2022: 

AJOT: “House passes bill to avert US rail strike, impose contract” 

Tuesday, November 29, 2022: 

Unions and railroads have until Dec. 9 to avoid a strike, and a negotiated agreement now appears unlikely.

AJOT: “Biden asks Congress to force rail deal over union objections”

Tuesday, November 22, 2022: 

The BLET and the SMART-TD were the two remaining unions voting on their contracts with the railroads.

The BLET which represents more than 20,000 engineers and trainmen has ratified its collective bargaining agreement with the freight railroads.

SMART-TD holds two separate contracts.  The first agreement covers about 28,000 employees in the conductor, brakemen, engine service and yardman groups.  That contract was not ratified by a margin of less than 1%.  The SMART-TD national negotiating committee had unanimously and strongly recommended their members approve the agreements.  The second SMART-TD agreement covers about 1,300 yardmasters and it was ratified.

With the twelve unions there are thirteen contracts.  Nine of thirteen agreements have been ratified covering about half of all rail employees.  All of the ratified contracts are based on the PEB 250 framework.

The SMART -TD train employees, BMWED, BRS and IBB have not ratified their contracts and are subject to a cooling off period until early December.  Currently it is extended until 12:01 AM December 9.  The demands by the 4 unions exceed the PEB recommendations that were accepted by the 9 other unions.

AJOT: “Split decision: Unions for railroad engineers and conductors take different routes in freight rail contract ratification vote”

Tuesday, November 15, 2022: 

The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB), which represents approximately 300 rail employees out of the more than 100,000 involved in this bargaining round, has failed to ratify its recent tentative agreement with the nation’s freight railroads.

The NCCC and IBB previously agreed to maintain a cooling off period until December 9 in the event the tentative agreement was not ratified. As such, the failed ratification does not present the immediate risk of any strike or job action taken by IBB and the potential for any resulting service disruptions. The NCCC will remain engaged with IBB throughout the remaining cooling off period.

Freightwaves: “Boilermakers reject labor agreement with US freight railroads”

Thursday, November 10, 2022:

The NCCC and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (BMWE) have agreed that the current cooling off period, which had been set to expire on November 19, will be extended until at least December 4 and is subject to further extension to maintain alignment, if necessary, with other labor organizations. This extension eliminates the threat of a rail strike on or about November 19.

Supply Chain Management Review: “NCCC says ‘cooling off’ period for BMWED rail labor union is extended”

Tuesday, October 11, 2022:

BMWED Membership Votes Against Ratification of The Tentative Agreement Reached with Class I Freight Railroads on 09/15/22

Thursday, September 15, 2022:

Unions and management reached a tentative deal early Thursday, September 15, averting a freight railroad strike that had threatened to negatively impact US supply chains.  The deal concluded 20 hours of talks between the unions’ leadership and the railroads’ labor negotiators hosted by US Labor Secretary Marty Walsh.

Current Rail Statuses:

  • Norfolk Southern (NS): Announced that tentative agreement has been reached and gates

have been reopened. Press Release

  • Union Pacific (UP): Announced that tentative agreement has been reached and the embargo

on Hazardous and Security-Sensitive commodities (PIH/TIH) has been lifted. Press Release

  • BNSF: Announced that tentative agreement has been reached and the railroad will resume

normal operations. Press Release

  • Canadian National – (CN): Announced that tentative agreement has been reached, rail

operations will return to normal, and the embargo on Hazardous and Security/Time-Sensitive

shipments (PIH/TIH) has been lifted. Press Release


We will continue to monitor conditions and post the most update-to-date information here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022:

There is potential for rail disruption in the US. Below are the major rail carriers most recent updates:

Norfolk Southern (NS): Effective 17:00 local time on Wednesday, September 14, 2022, Norfolk Southern will close all gates to Intermodal traffic. Press Release

Union Pacific (UP): Effective Monday September 12, Union Pacific implemented changes to the securing and acceptance of Hazardous and Security-Sensitive commodities (PIH/TIH). Press Release.

BNSF: Effective 12:01 AM EST on Wednesday, September 14, BNSF will stop in-gate of temperature-controlled intermodal units. Press Release.

Canadian National – (CN): Effective at 12:01 a.m. ET on Monday, September 12th, 2022, CN embargoed cross-border shipments of Rail Security-Sensitive Materials or RSSM commodities (such as PIH/TIH) and all Time Sensitive commodities. The list of embargoed commodities can be found here. At the current time, all other commodities (as well as Canada-to-Canada shipments) are not impacted.