A rail strike would disrupt supply chains, and that’s the point

ICYMI: Thousands of rail workers are poised to walk off the job from midnight tomorrow unless they get better working conditions from their employers. Unions representing train engineers and conductors have been deadlocked in negotiations with the railways, with little sign of progress.

Business leaders are getting more nervous as the clock ticks down, writes colleague Chris Isidore. Any prolonged strike promises to create a logistical nightmare that will strain supply chains, create shortages of consumer goods and drive up prices, similar to how the pandemic shut down parts of the economy in 2020.

Here are some of the areas where business leaders and economists expect disruption:

THE BOTTOM LINE

Of course, it’s all about this disruption. The U.S. economy can’t fully function without trains or the people who ride them, but engineers and conductors say they’re at breaking point. They often work 14 days in a row. They have no sick days, no set weekends, and are penalized when they miss work, even for a doctor’s appointment or family emergency. These conditions fuel a high turnover rate, further straining the workforce.

“The average American wouldn’t know that we get fired for going to the doctor,” Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen president Dennis Pierce told the Washington Post. “We have guys who were punished for having a heart attack and taking time off to do Covid. It’s inhumane.”

TODAY’S NUMBER: $4.13 trillion

Google suffered one of its biggest setbacks on Wednesday when Europe’s highest court fined it $4.13 billion for using its Android mobile operating system to thwart rivals. It is a registration fine for an antitrust violation.

THE NEW KING

King Charles, after more than 70 years of waiting, is finally ascending the throne. This is the last promotion. But her former domestic worker may not be so lucky.

According to The Guardian, 100 staff at Clarence House, his former official residence in London, were told on Monday that they were soon to be let go. That was four days after the Queen’s death.

Many workers, according to the paper, thought they would follow the king to his new home. Instead, they received a letter from the King’s top aide saying their jobs were on the chopping block.

“Everyone is absolutely filthy, including the private secretaries and the senior team,” a source told the Guardian. “All the workers have been working late every night since Thursday, to fulfill this.”

Of course, there’s not much time to hear that you’re about to be fired, but it didn’t help that the announcement came at the same time as the Queen’s services were being held.

The union representing royal household workers has called the decision to announce the layoffs at a time of national mourning “simply heartless”.

While some staffing changes were expected, the “level and speed” at which potential layoffs were announced was at the “extreme end,” union general secretary Mark Serwotka said in a statement.

Oh, and in case anyone forgot: the UK is in the middle of the worst cost of living crisis in a generation, with inflation above 10%, a recession and many people facing a winter. choose between eating and heating their homes.

King Charles, on the other hand, had just inherited a fortune (the value of which is kept secret, … reasons) that is not subject to the 40% inheritance tax in Great Britain.

MY TWO CENTIMOS

It is not clear at this point how much Charles himself would be involved in the change in household staff. But the PR from the start of his reign is clear, and he’s not the only one getting attention this week.

On Tuesday, a leaked style pen prompted her to muse: “Oh god I hate this!… I can’t stand this bloody thing!” before you leave clearly upset. Perhaps he was still angry about the previous mishap a few days earlier, when he waved despairingly at one of his assistants. move a pen tray from one side of the table to the other as he signed a large cartoon document at his proclamation ceremony. Charles looked up hurt that no one thought to move a small pen container for someone to do it before nodding.

None of this would be a big deal for, say, an American president who serves as both head of state and head of government. But for the British monarch, that’s pretty much all you do. Charles has had a lifetime to prepare for this, under the guidance of a mother who was a great master in the cold, and yet he still can’t stick the landing.

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