Biden: “Tentative agreement” reached to avoid national railway strike

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:


  • President Joe Biden announced Thursday that railroads and workers’ unions reached a tentative agreement to avoid a rail strike.
  • The national strike threatens to shut down a major segment of the U.S. transportation network.
  • Biden said, “The tentative agreement reached tonight is an important win for our economy and the American people.”

President Joe Biden announced early Thursday that railroad companies and workers’ unions had reached an agreement to avoid a nationwide strike that could have had a severe impact on the economy.

“The tentative agreement reached tonight is an important win for our economy and the American people,” Biden said in a released statement.

He went on to say that the agreement means, “These rail workers will get better pay, improved working conditions, and peace of mind around their health care costs: all hard-earned. The agreement is also a victory for railway companies who will be able to retain and recruit more workers for an industry that will continue to be part of the backbone of the American economy for decades to come.“ 

Both sides had until 12:01 a.m. Friday to broker a deal to avoid a work stoppage.

According to multiple reports, the railroad companies and union representatives had reached a deal after negotiating for nearly 20 hours to broker the tentative agreement. 

Biden made a major phone call to negotiators on both sides, a White House official told the Associated Press. The president noted the ripple effects a potential work stoppage would do on the economy, the American families, farmers, and businesses. 

Biden thanked Labor Secretary Marty Walsh for making the talks possible.

“I especially want to thank Secretary Walsh for his tireless, around-the-clock efforts that delivered a win for the hard-working people of the US rail industry: as a result, we will keep Americans on the job in all the industries in this country that are touched by this vital industry.”

On Wednesday, about 5,000 railway workers at the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) voted to reject a tentative contract agreement based on recommendations released by a White House-appointed last month. The votes authorized a strike. 

Amtrak, along with other railroad transportation services, announced the cancellation of all long-distance trains services starting on Thursday. This will temporarily avoid disruptions in their service despite the railroad strike.

Over 115,000 rail workers were legally required to strike on Friday if a work stoppage will happen. This means that the eventual strike could’ve stopped the transport of food, fuel, and other goods, which will trigger damaging effects on the U.S. economy. 

Source: NBC News

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