Rail labor unions can hold America 'hostage' with their negotiations: Former Texas Railroad commissioner

A rail strike could bring down the entire industry and 'cripple' the US, Ryan Sitton warns

During an interview on "Mornings with Maria" Friday, former Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton warned of the disastrous impact of a potential rail strike on the industry and struggling U.S. economy.

RYAN SITTON: Well, let's take just one thing that railcars move a lot of, coal. Right now, about 22% of the nation's electricity comes from coal-fired power plants, and 70% of that coal is moved via rail. Now, one of the things that's unique about this strike and this particular negotiation is you've got 12 unions working together, which could almost single-handedly bring down the rail industry. If you take 70% of 22% or 14% of our electricity generation offline, that would cripple the United States. 

A freight train parked in rail yard

FILE - In this July 27, 2015, file photo, a BNSF Railway Company train is parked in Seattle on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022.(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File) ((AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File) / AP Newsroom)

So, unfortunately, you've got kind of a monopoly here. And that monopoly, which is the labor unions, are controlling a massive part of our economy and has the ability to hold America hostage, if you will, through these negotiations. And so, look, I'm all for every American out there trying to get better pay, better benefits, and better conditions at the same time. And if you have the ability to collectively bargain and threaten our economy, that's a bad situation.