How Diverse are the Workforces of America’s Largest Railroad Companies?

Tens of thousands of freight rail workers were set to go on strike last week, until a tentative agreement was reached that gives them a 24 percent increase in wages by 2024. Both sides have a month to negotiate a new contract, and there are other issues on the table that have yet to be resolved. But optimism seems to be there, where it hasn’t been in many years.
In 1981, when Sheena Easton sang Morning Train (9 to 5), there were more than 550,000 U.S. rail workers. While the decline in employment has been steady, recent cuts have been significant. Over the last six years, Class 1 railroads have cut their workforce by 29% (a total of 45,000 employees), according to the Surface Transportation Board.

Today, there are only five American-owned Class 1 railroad companies. Four of them are listed in the S&P 500 – CSX, Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific, and BNSF – however BNSF is a Berkshire Hathaway company, and despite advocacy from As You Sow and institutional investors, the Oracle of Omaha still resists on ESG disclosures. 

Here’s a snapshot of CSX, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific’s most recent human capital disclosures: 

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