ICYMI: Tens of thousands of train workers are ready to walk off the job just after midnight tomorrow night unless they can secure better working conditions from their employers. Unions representing train engineers and conductors have been locked in negotiations with the railroads, with scant signs of progress.
Here are just a few of the areas where business leaders and economists expect disruptions:
Of course, all of that disruption is exactly the point. The US economy can’t fully function without trains or the people who operate them, but engineers and conductors say they are at their 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 if it’s for a doctor’s appointment or family emergency. Those conditions fuel a high turnover rate, further straining workers.
NUMBER OF THE DAY: $4.13 billion
THE NEW KING
King Charles, after more than 70 years of waiting, is finally ascending the throne. It’s the ultimate promotion. But his former house staff may not be so fortunate.
Many staff, according to the paper, had assumed 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.
“Everybody is absolutely livid, including private secretaries and the senior team,” a source told the Guardian. “All the staff have been working late every night since Thursday, to be met with this.”
Of course, there’s no great time to hear you’re about to be laid off, but it didn’t help that the notice came at the same time church services were being held for the Queen.
The trade union representing royal household workers called the decision to announce layoffs during the period of national mourning “nothing short of heartless.”
While some staffing changes were expected, “the scale and speed” at which potential layoffs were announced was “callous in the extreme,” the union’s General Secretary Mark Serwotka said in a statement.
Oh, and in case anyone forgot: The UK is in the middle of its worst cost-of-living crisis in a generation, with inflation over 10%, a recession looming, and many people facing a winter in which they’ll have to choose between eating and heating their homes.
King Charles, meanwhile, just inherited a fortune (the value of which is kept secret, because…reasons) that is not subject to Britain’s 40% inheritance tax.
MY TWO CENTS
It’s unclear at this point how much Charles himself would have been involved in the staffing shakeup at the house. But it’s a clear PR fumble this early in his reign, and it’s not the only one grabbing attention this week.
None of this would be a big deal for, say, an American president, who serves as both the head of state and the head of government. But for the British monarch, pageantry is pretty much all you do. Charles has had a lifetime to prepare for it, under the guidance of a mum who was a grand master in the art of being chill, and yet he still can’t seem to stick the landing.