Midway through September, the nation’s railway union leaders and the president of the United States reached a tentative labor agreement, and President Joe Biden gave a victory speech in the Rose Garden. Biden’s self-congratulations, as Right Wing noted in October, turned out to be hasty when the legislation was rejected by a number of labor organizations. Recently, the president urged Congress to take action to prevent a potential statewide rail strike as the nation enters the holiday season.
In a statement issued on November 28 by the White House, Biden urged Congress to approve a bill that would formally ratify the September settlement his administration assisted in negotiating between railroad employees and operators. The president forewarned that a railroad shutdown would completely destroy the economy of the country and force the closure of several important US enterprises.
President Joe Biden is calling on Congress to pass legislation to avoid a Dec. 9 rail shutdown, which could further damage a shaky U.S. economy during the holiday season. https://t.co/Zco9wGws18 pic.twitter.com/D88SfMjsqX— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) November 29, 2022
The September agreement with union leaders granted an option for unplanned leave to address medical needs, a 24% wage rise for employees, and increased healthcare benefits.
The five-year agreement was adopted by eight train unions, but four others’ members rejected it due to issues with unpaid sick leave, the railroads’ demanding timetables, and other working conditions.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who is leaving her position, committed to uphold the original accord in its entirety. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) stated his support for a legislative solution, but it is still uncertain whether she has the necessary votes to send the proposal to the Senate with its 50/50 split membership.
Speaker Pelosi in new statement on timing for House: "This week, the House will take up a bill adopting the Tentative Agreement – with no poison pills or changes to the negotiated terms – and send it to the Senate."https://t.co/73ofId1LMM— Lillianna Byington (@lil_byington) November 28, 2022
The initiative to adopt legislation to prevent a rail strike was applauded by the Association of American Railroads. Similar to other commercial organizations, the Biden Administration was recently urged to play a more active role in preventing a worker walkout.