I won’t sugarcoat this matter: The most difficult story for me to cover as a reporter and as an opinion writer and editor over the course of my nearly four-decade-long career was labor negotiation.
Thus, I am grateful to be on the sidelines as railroad unions and rail companies are battling head-to-head over a new contract. A strike might occur in one week. Or, the government might intervene to prevent what some observers are predicting would be a virtual economic collapse.
I want an end to this dispute. Now! I want the trains to keep hauling goods and commodities to their intended destinations.
As difficult as it was to cover these negotiations, it appears to me that the unions are making a relatively simple demand of the employers. They want paid sick leave, which is what employers all over the country give to those who work for them.
I am not sure how the rail companies deny what appears to be this basic demand from the unions. They want to be able to take time off to tend to their own health, or to the health of their family members … and get paid for it!
Congress is preparing legislation that would prevent a strike. Indeed, the stakes are huge, man. We could see the cessation of shipments, making even worse the “supply chain” issues that have plagued the economy. Oh, and inflation? That, too, likely could explode if we cannot get the goods to customers.
Economists say a strike would cost the economy $2 billion each day.
Do the union and rail company negotiators really want to be held accountable for the possible collapse of our economy? I do doubt it.
Get busy, folks. Settle this dispute!