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

Ed Lallo/ZUMAPRESS

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones 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.

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you'll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate