More than 100,000 railroad workers in Washington have threatened to walk off the job this morning.
The nation’s largest freight railroads and a union representing engineers and conductors started urgent negotiations this morning in an effort to prevent a rail strike.
If the employees went on strike, it could cripple passenger service, supply chains, jobs, and other sectors, costing the economy $2 billion a day.
The deal had a deadline of Friday at 12:01 am. By the end of the day, certain long-distance and Railtrack services could be discontinued.
Several lawmakers, including Congressman Steny Hoyer, are attempting to prevent a walkout over a number of concerns, including worker wages and healthcare.
A tentative agreement was reached that would have given workers a 24% pay raise, but two union members resisted and refused to issue a statement that accused the railroads of engaging in “corporate terrorism” by using shippers, consumers, and the nation’s supply chains as bargaining chips to force the Union to give in to their contract demands.