Sep 13, 2022 - Economy & Business

Amtrak cancels 3 long-distance trips ahead of potential strike

Passengers board an Amtrak Empire Builder train Tuesday, March 28, 2017, at Union Station in Chicago.
Passengers board an Amtrak Empire Builder train. Photo: Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Amtrak canceled three of its long-distance routes out of Chicago this week as the company gears up for a potential railroad workers' strike.

Why it matters: A labor contract dispute between railroad workers and freight rails could lead to the U.S.'s first railroad strike in nearly three decades, impacting more than 21,000 route miles the company operates outside of the northeast, per CNN.

  • Amtrak is not involved in the negotiations between the freight rails and the railroad workers' unions, but the company operates the rails that would be directly impacted by the strike.

Driving the news: Amtrak said Tuesday it had canceled three trips set to depart from Chicago to the West Coast. The three trains were scheduled to depart Tuesday.

What they're saying: “Amtrak is closely monitoring the ongoing freight rail – rail labor contract negotiations. The negotiations do not involve Amtrak or the Amtrak workforce," Amtrak said in a statement obtained by CNN.

  • "While we are hopeful that parties will reach a resolution, Amtrak has now begun phased adjustments to our service in preparation for a possible freight rail service interruption later this week,” the company said.

Worth noting: The company said "only a small number of Northeast Regional departures would be impacted" by a potential labor dispute, according to Reuters.

The big picture: Freight railroads and labor unions have been deadlocked in the battle of labor conditions and pay, the Washington Post reports.

  • The majority of the labor unions have agreed to talks with the presidential board, but the two biggest unions haven't done so yet, per the Post.
  • Workers could strike after Thursday night.

Go deeper: Possibility of railway and port strikes threaten supply chain recovery

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