Railroad and union representatives had been in talks for 20 hours at the Labor Department on Wednesday at the risk of a strike beginning Friday that could shut down railroads across the country.
Biden made an important call to the secretary of labor Marty Walsh Talks were underway at 9 p.m. after an Italian dinner was brought in, according to a White House official who insisted on anonymity. told me to When shutdown occurs.
Discussions resulted in a tentative agreement to be put to a vote by union members after a cooling-off period of several weeks after ratification.
“These railroad workers will get higher wages, better working conditions and less medical costs, all of which are hard earned,” Mr. Biden said. “This deal is also a win for the railroad companies, which will be able to secure and recruit more workers for an industry that will remain part of the backbone of the American economy for decades to come.”
The threat of a shutdown has forced Biden into a politically sensitive position. The Democratic president believes labor unions built the middle class, but he also knew that a railroad workers’ strike could hurt the economy ahead of the midterm elections.
That put him in an awkward position on Wednesday. He flew to Detroit, a heavyweight in the labor movement, to support the virtues of unionization, which members of his administration did their best to maintain. Negotiations taking place in Washington between railroad companies and union workers.
As the administration was trying to make peace, Ryan Buchalski, a Local 598 member of the National Auto Workers Union, introduced them. Biden at the Detroit Auto Show on Wednesday as “the most union and worker-friendly president in American history” and someone who “kicked ass for the working class.” Buchalski recalled the pivotal sit-down strikes by auto workers in the 1930s.
In a subsequent speech, Biden said auto workers “took me to the dance” and said he would never have been in the White House without the support of trade unions such as the UAW and Brotherhood of Electric Workers International. I realized that I couldn’t.
But Biden also knew the suspension could have started as early as Friday, after negotiations in Washington failed to reach an agreement between 12 unions. May halt food and fuel shipments It costs $2 billion per day.
Much more was at stake than sick leave and pay increases for the 115,000 organized rail workers. Its influence could extend to the control of Congress and the shipping network that keeps factories running, stocks store shelves, and ties the United States together as an economic powerhouse.
As such, White House Press Secretary Carine Jean-Pierre said on board an Air Force One flight departing Wednesday for Detroit that the rail workers’ strike was “an unacceptable consequence for the economy and the American people.” Representatives of railway companies and their workers “need to stay at the bargaining table and negotiate in good faith to resolve outstanding issues and reach agreements,” she said.
Biden faced the same predicament that Theodore Roosevelt in 1902 faced with coal and Harry Truman in 1952 with steel. Railroads were so important during World War I that Woodrow Wilson temporarily nationalized the industry to keep supplies flowing and prevent strikes.
Aides inside the White House see no conflict between Biden’s dedication to the union and his desire to avoid a strike. Labor union activity has surged under the Biden administration, with 56% Increased petitions from union representatives So far this year, we have been working with the National Labor Relations Commission.
A person familiar with the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the White House deliberations on the issue, said the thinking in Biden’s approach to the debate was not just for organized labor, but for the nation as a whole. He said that he was the president of
As the economic recovery continues, Supply chain disruption During the coronavirus pandemic, the president’s goal was to keep all parties together so they could reach an agreement. He saw a commitment to continue negotiations in good faith as the best way to avoid a shutdown while exercising the principles of
Biden also knew the outage could exacerbate the dynamics it caused soaring inflation And it has created a political headache for the ruling party.
Eddie Vale, a Democratic political consultant and former AFL-CIO communications aide, said the White House pursued the right approach at a dangerous time.
“No one wants railroad strikes. No businesses, no workers, no White House,” he said.
Vale added that the difficulties in the meeting were “fundamentally about respect, sick leave and bereavement leave,” an issue Biden has championed in his speeches and policy proposals.
Sensing a political opportunity, Senate Republicans moved Wednesday to pass a law imposing contract terms on unions and railroad companies to avoid a shutdown. Democrats, who control both houses of Congress, blocked it.
“If there is a strike that paralyzes food, fertilizer and energy shipments across the country, it will be because Democrats blocked this bill,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky).
The potential economic impact of the strike was not lost on members of the Business Roundtable, a Washington-based group representing CEOs. It released its quarterly outlook for the economy on Wednesday.
“Since the pandemic began, we have experienced many headwinds from supply chain issues, and those issues will be geometrically magnified,” Group CEO Josh Bolten told reporters. “There are manufacturing plants all over the country that will probably have to close. …There are products that are critical to keeping our water clean.”
The roundtable also held a board meeting on Wednesday. But Bolten said Lance Fritz, chairman of the board’s international committee and chief executive officer of Union Pacific Railroad, said the strike “is working hard to resolve the strike.” He said he would miss it.
By 5:05 am on Thursday, it was clear that the hard work of the entire government, unions and railway companies had paid off. Biden announced the deal, calling it “an important win for our economy and the American people.”
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https://www.ksat.com/news/politics/2022/09/15/bidens-tight-spot-a-union-backer-out-to-avert-rail-strike/ Temporary rail labor contract reached, strike averted