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By Tom Paulson
City Editor 

Layoffs at CSX Intermodal Avoided by Settlement

Strike Might Have Idled Many Local Workers

 

Last updated 9/15/2022 at 7:13pm

Courtesy CSX

The local CSX Intermodal freight facility would have been among serious economic victims of a nationwide rail strike which was averted at the last minute.

The efforts of the US Transportation Secretary Marty Walsh and direct intervention by President Joe Biden have succeeded in averting a nationwide strike that would likely have led to scores of local workers being laid off for their jobs.

The $100 million CSX Intermodal freight terminal, located between Lake Wales and Winter Haven off SR 60 west, opened in 2014 and employs workers involved in loading and unloading the shipping containers which have become the global standard.

Workers for two major railroad labor groups were prepared to strike over employer work schedules that left them on call "24-7, every week of the year," according to one leader of the union negotiating team.

The long effort to break the deadlock between operators, represented by the National Carriers Conference Committee, and employee members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen was subject of a prior Federal intervention that delayed the crisis, but the two sides failed to make further progress.

The last minute call by President Biden at 9:00 pm Wednesday, only hours before the strike was to begin, was credited by both sides with helping to break the logjam.

A strike would have clogged the rail networks with stalled trains, and left the intermodal transfer points without work.

Business and government leaders feared that a strike would have caused new economic chaos, re-snarling the supply chain issues caused by the Covid pandemic and only now being straightened out. Those supply issues have been one of the causes of inflation, aggravated by high energy costs and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said that the settlement "means avoiding the disruptions that could have accompanied any kind of shutdown or slowdown."

 

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