Rail Strike Will Upgrade Supply Chains – And That’s Right

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Unless we find a breakthrough soon in the stalemate talks, Friday will mark the start of the first national rail strike in 30 years (which we wrote about) monday newspaper,

ICYMI: Thousands of railway workers are ready to quit after midnight tomorrow, unless they can achieve better working conditions than their employers. Unions representing train engineers and conductors have been locked in talks with the railroad, showing little sign of progress.

Business leaders are becoming increasingly concerned as the clock is ticking, My colleague Chris Isidore writes. Any protracted strike promises to create a nightmare that will worsen supply chains, create shortages of consumer goods and drive up prices – no different from how the pandemic hit parts of the economy in 2020 has been closed.

Here are some areas where business leaders and economists expect disruption:

  • Truck drivers pick up the slack: “Deactivating all 7,000 long-distance daily freight trains in the US would require more than 460,000 additional long-distance trucks each day, which is not possible based on equipment availability and the current shortage of 80,000 drivers,” said American CEO Chris Spear said. Trucking Association in a letter to Congress.
  • gas prices: Refineries send fuel out through pipelines, but railroads play a vital role in making the gasoline that ends up in your tank. About all the ethanol that goes into gasoline runs by rail. The chemicals used in the refining process also come via rail.
  • Stopping those shipments could reverse the drop in gas prices we’ve seen in recent months.
  • Food Shipment: Mike Seifert, CEO of the National Grain and Feed Association, said a rail strike during the fall harvest would cause “sharp and severe” economic damage. In anticipation of the strike, the railroad has started refusing to accept new consignments of food grains. Farmers preparing for planting for the autumn season may face a shortage of fertilizers.
  • Car and truck production: There is already a shortage of cars for sale due to supply chain issues from the pandemic. But the rail strike will make the situation worse. About 75% of cars are made in American factories or are imported by rail. Many parts moving between suppliers and assembly plants also move by rail.
  • commute: Many of the country’s commuter trains travel on tracks built and operated by freight railroads. As a result, passenger railroads expect freight traffic to cease operations. Amtrak has already cut service on many of its long-distance trains, most of which run on freight lines.

ground level

Of course, all that disruption is absolutely right. The US economy cannot function as a whole without trains or the people operating them, but engineers and conductors say they are at their breaking point. They often work 14 days in a row. They have no sick days, no scheduled weekends, and are penalized when they miss work, whether it’s for a doctor’s appointment or a family emergency. Those conditions promote a higher turnover rate, further stressing workers.

Dennis Pierce, president of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, “the average American would not know that we are fired for going to the doctor.” told the Washington Post. “We have people who were punished for having heart attacks and taking time off for Covid. It’s inhumane.”

Google suffered one of its biggest setbacks on Wednesday when a top European court fined him $ 4.13 billion To use your Android mobile operating system to thwart the rivals. This is a record fine for an antitrust violation.

King Charles, after more than 70 years of waiting, is finally ascending the throne. This is the last promotion. But his former house staff might not be so lucky.

According to GuardianMore than 100 employees of Clarence House, his former official residence in London, were informed on Monday that they may soon be let go. That is exactly four days after the death of the queen.

According to the paper, many of the servants had assumed that they would follow the king to his new home. Instead, he received a letter from King’s top aide stating that his job was on the chopping block.

“Everyone, including the private secretaries and the senior team, is completely upset,” a source told the Guardian. “All the employees have been working late every night since Thursday, to deal with this.”

Of course, this is not a good time to hear that you are being laid off, but it didn’t help that the notice came at the same time that church services were being held for the Queen.

The trade union representing the workers of the royal household called the decision to announce the layoffs during the period of national mourning as “nothing short of unkind”.

While some staffing changes were expected, the “scale and speed” at which potential layoffs were announced was “drastic in the extreme”, union secretary general Mark Cervotka said in a statement.

Oh, and in case anyone forgot: the UK is in the midst of its worst-ever living crisis in a generation, with inflation exceeding 10%, a recession, and many people facing a winter in which They have to choose between eating and heating their homes.

Meanwhile, King Charles inherited only one estate (the value of which is kept secret, because…cause) which is not subject to Britain’s 40% inheritance tax.

my two cents

It is unclear at this point how much Charles himself must have been involved in the staffing shakeup at home. But it’s an obvious PR messing around at the start of his reign, and it’s not the only one to grab attention this week.

On Tuesday, a leaky fountain pen whispered to him: “Oh my god, I hate it! … I can’t bear this bloody thing!” before walking away, clearly unhappy. Perhaps he was still annoyed by the previous accident that happened a few days ago, when he pointed out to one of his attendants in despair that carry a tray of pens From one side of the table to the other signing a large cartoon document during his proclamation. Charles saw humiliated that no one had thought to move a small pen tray for him to do before being gestured to do so.

Neither of these would be a big deal for a US president, who serves as both head of state and head of government. But for the British monarch, the spectacle is too much for whatever you do. Charles has had the time of a lifetime to prepare for it, under the guidance of a mother who was a great master at the art of being chill, and yet she still can’t stop the landing.

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