Working on the Railroad Is Pretty Lucrative in North Platte, Nebraska

Ed Lallo/ZUMAPRESS

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

Check this out. Railroads are having a hard time finding workers thanks to a tight labor market, so they’re trying out a bold new strategy:

Railroad workers are being offered signing bonuses of up to $25,000 to join BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Corp. as the freight railroads struggle to fill jobs in a historically tight labor market.

….Freight volumes are rising on strong economic growth and industrial expansion, and a shortage of available truck capacity is pushing more shipments onto rails. At the same time, the unemployment rate has fallen to 4.1% in the U.S., and as low as 2.8% in some markets where railroads are hiring.

In response, the companies are dangling incentives that analysts and union leaders say are the highest they can recall. Union Pacific is offering $10,000 to $20,000 “hiring incentives” to train crews in cities like Denver, Kansas City, Mo., and North Platte, Neb., where its largest rail yard is located. Those jobs average $40,000 in pay over the first year and $60,000 the next, according to job listings.

I wonder how that’s working out? In any case, if you like hard manual labor and don’t mind living in North Platte, that’s the place to be.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest