As the shadow of a national railway strike lurks around the corner for the first time in 30 years, Amtrak moved to cancel all long-distance passenger trains scheduled for Thursday. The Wednesday announcement, which is not expected to affect Amtrak’s heavily-patronized Northeast Corridor, came after negotiations between the unions and their management hit a standstill. The two major unions representing engineers and conductors—the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and SMART Transportation Division—are still at odds in new contract negotiations. The two groups cover roughly 50,000 unionized employees, nearly half of the unionized employees at the national rail lines. The buck stops at them when it comes to whether or not the freight trains will run, or even commuter trains that run over freight lines. D.C. is scrambling to avert another crisis as the economy struggles to recover from pre-existing supply chain issues spurred by the pandemic. Union officials were scheduled to meet with Labor Secretary Marty Walsh on Wednesday, CNN reports.
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