Freight railroad workers earn about twice the median household income


DENVER (KDVR) — Rail freight disruptions appear to have been averted. The rail freight workers’ unions and their management tentatively agreed to a contract early Thursday morning.

Freight unions had rejected an earlier deal that would have raised wages but failed to address working hours. Union leaders said the working hours and schedules of freight workers were long and irregular and needed to change in the future. They threatened a national strike until conditions improved.

The strike would have weighed even more heavily on an economy already ravaged by inflation, raising the prices of everything from consumer goods to energy prices.

Irregular hours come with above-average pay. Railroad freight workers earn more than most Americans in their pay.

The American Association of Railroads maintains records of the average salary of railroad workers in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia. Freight railroad workers earn a national average of $126,000 a year in wages and benefits nationwide.

Colorado’s freight worker pay is slightly lower, averaging $123,000 for the estimated 2,259 workers in the state.

Rail freight wages significantly exceed the national median income.

The median household income in 2019 was $66,000, which means freight railroad workers earn about twice the median U.S. household.

In Colorado, they earn just under double the state’s median income of $77,000 a year.


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