ANKENY, Iowa — This coming Friday morning at 12:01 AM this country could see a strike by major railroads.
A spokesperson for Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation (SMART) Union said rail workers are seeking more pay, among other issues.
“The SMART Union is seeking more pay, after a 35 percent reduction in the number of employees,” said Chris Smith, a Union Representative. “The membership is discouraged or enraged by Railroad statement that ‘Labor doesn’t contribute to profits.”
Smith said he hopes a strike can be averted.
Iowa crop producer groups are watching the strike possibilities as this year’s harvest is just around the corner.
“The other modes of transportation simply do not have the capacity to absorb what railroads transport,“ said Mike Steenhoek, Executive Director of the Soy Transportation Coalition. “It’s really critical that we come to an agreement between the two parties and we’re allowed to have freight rail to actually improve, not take a step back and become less reliable.”
A number of agriculture leaders have asked that if there is a work stoppage, to have congress step in.
“A number of agricultural organizations did send a letter to congressional leaders imploring them to intervene if there is strike or a lockout,” said Steenhoek. “We’re encouraging Congress do not to let a slow down or stoppage occur.”