U.S. Economy could be in ruin by the rail strike

On Monday, the U.S.'s third-largest railroad union refused to do business with employers, renewing the prospect of a strike that could bring the economy to a halt.

More than half of track maintenance workers, represented by the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division, voted against five-year contracts despite a 24% raise and a $5,000 bonus.

Union president Tony Cardwell said railroads were struggling to cope with especially sick leave, and working conditions after major railroads cut jobs by almost a third over the past six years.

“Railway workers are discouraged and frustrated by their working conditions and wages, and they look down on their employers. Railroad workers don't feel valued," Cardwell said in a statement.

A group representing the negotiating railroad were disappointed by the union, rejected the deal, and agreed to continue working for the time being.

Four other railroad unions, have approved agreements with rail haulers, while 12 unions representing 115,000 workers have All must ratify the agreement to avoid a strike.

Another union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, initially rejected the contract, but then negotiated a new one. Voting is expected to be completed by mid-November.