Economics/Class Relations

Implications of Impending US Rail Strikes

by Peter Zeihan on December 1, 2022

Rail is one of the primary means of transport in the US, and a union strike could put all of that at risk. To understand how the US got itself into this mess, we have to consider the following facets of the American system.

First, the Jones Act diverted a majority of the cargo away from waterways, meaning without rail a whole lot of things just…stop. Second, the turning of the political system has forced the organized labor faction into a game of tug of war between both parties, each vying for the union’s support.

As long as there is a threat to the systems that the union has a stake in, they will resist. This will likely result in government intervention, but not necessarily the kind of intervention we would have seen 10 years ago.

(The situation surrounding the potential US freight rail strike remains fluid. At the time of publishing, the US House of Representatives has voted to approve a tentative labor deal to avert a strike, but it remains unclear how the US Senate and rail workers will respond.)

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