Train workers threaten to strike amid supply chain crunch

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Train workers may move to strike after BNSF issued a new attendance policy, which union leaders called “the worst and most egregious attendance policy ever adopted by any rail carrier.” If the strike proceeds it could be devastating to an already troubled supply chain in America.

Members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation (SMART-TD) who work for the BNSF Railway took steps on Wednesday that could lead to a strike in light of this new policy.

BLET National President Dennis Pierce and SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson said the new “Hi-Viz” program, which would go into effect on Feb. 1 is overly restrictive and is similar to precision scheduled railroading practices.

According to a statement released Thursday from the unions, BNSF’s Hi-Viz attendance program “…repudiates numerous collectively bargained agreements currently in place throughout the BNSF system.”

The unions describe the policy as a points-based system that penalizes employees for “…any time they take off work for practically any reason.” The program is described as so restrictive that employees would be penalized for absences to attend the funeral of an immediate family member.

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