Featherbedridden McNear

U.S. railroads are highballing into a labor shortage. Selective Service Headquarters last week ranked railroad labor with coal mining and shipbuilding, urged local draft boards to give all three categories deferments. The Office of Defense Transportation said at least 320,000 new railroad workers must be found by year's end. Retired pensioners are coming back to work.

Yet the terms of most railroad employment still include the man-and-dollar-wasting practices known as featherbedding. These intricate Railroad Brotherhood rules, devised when railroad traffic was shrinking, are aimed at making work and keeping a maximum number...