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Biden Bows to Pressure from Rail Unions to Divert Potentially Catastrophic Strike

Biden Bows to Pressure from Rail Unions to Divert Potentially Catastrophic Strike

The White House hands out massive amounts of money and kicks the rail strike can down the road.

We have been following the looming rail strike closely, as it has the potential to cost the economy $2 billion each day and worsen the already problematic supply chain crisis.

And while the mainstream media touts the agreement between the government and the rail unions as a win for Biden, a closer analysis would suggest it is anything but.  The can has simply been kicked further down the road.

President Joe Biden said on Thursday that a ‘tentative’ deal has been reached between US freight rail companies and unions, averting a potentially devastating strike before the pivotal midterm elections.

The agreement, hashed out as a national rail strike loomed at midnight on Friday, will raise rail employees salaries 24 percent from the period from 2020 to 2024, with workers getting an average lump sum payment of $11,000 for the backdated portion of the raise, according to a group representing rail companies.

Biden called the deal ‘a win for tens of thousands of rail workers who worked tirelessly through the pandemic to ensure that America’s families and communities got deliveries of what have kept us going during these difficult years.’

As negotiations between the rail companies and the unions came down to the wire, the White House and Biden’s Labor Secretary Martin J. Walsh had stepped in to help broker an agreement.

The tentative agreement must now be voted on by union members.

The deal may be hard to sell to union members, who are already upset over the administration’s covid policies.

Workers have gone three years without a raise amid the contract dispute, with talks stalling over attendance, sick time and scheduling issues. Only two of 12 unions – representing less than 10% of the workforce – are known to have ratified new contracts with freight railways.

The unions, including two large groups representing around 60,000 workers, will need to persuade their members to vote for Thursday’s deal. That might be a tough sell, labor experts warned.

“There’s a lot of anger among the members of these two unions because they feel, after being essential workers during the COVID pandemic, they were getting screwed on the attendance policy and getting punished for taking sick leave,” said Seth Harris, a professor of Northeastern University and former Biden administration official focused on labor and the economy.

One rail union has already voted “no.”

The details of the ratification vote have yet to be set but it is likely weeks away. Although the unions’ leadership described the agreement as a negotiating win, a successful ratification vote is not yet assured.

Some union members appeared to criticize the deal on social media, and the unions’ leadership conceded that some rank-and-file members may be unsatisfied with the deal.

…A smaller railroad union has already voted to reject the tentative agreement — the unit of the Machinists union that has 5,000 members working as mechanics for locomotive and track equipment and facility maintenance personnel. But that union is not preparing to go on strike immediately and instead will try to seek a new deal by the end of the month. The deal reached with the engineers and conductors could affect those negotiations.

Biden continues to plug policy leaks with loads of money until November’s ballots are counted.


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I’m sure throwing money at problems without innovative solutions will be great for inflation.

Sweet Jesus, if Biden is this kind of a “tough negotiator,” I’d love to buy a new car from him. I’d get the deal of the century.

    Barry in reply to MarkJ. | September 15, 2022 at 10:34 pm

    Get an electric and you’ll have your deal with the taxpayer picking up the bill.

    Your car will have a short range, be a greater polluter than an ICE vehicle, and probably leave you stranded, but you’ll have taxpayer money in your driveway.

      Ironclaw in reply to Barry. | September 15, 2022 at 11:18 pm

      Well, $7500 of it, which isn’t even enough to make up the difference in cost between the average ICE car and the average EV.

    henrybowman in reply to MarkJ. | September 16, 2022 at 11:11 pm

    Just ask an OPEC sheik or Putin what it was like to “negotiate” with Brandon.

If the problem reappears during President DeSantis’ term, I suspect that will be okay.

I expect the Iranians to re-evaluate their demands after this. Until today, I bet they thought Kerry was a pushover.

Subotai Bahadur | September 15, 2022 at 10:08 pm

Do not assume that the threat of a rail strike is gone. Hell, if the White House says it is, that is a good indication that it is coming. Only 2 out of 12 unions have signed on, comprising 10% of the workers. Keep your preparations up because it still may get hungry out.

Subotai Bahadur

We will see, as this still has to be voted on by the union membership and it doesn’t really address their main gripe. That being that they only get about 3 days off per month and it’s continuous 10 to 12-h0ur shifts. In other words, they’re not working to live, they’re being forced to live to work. I’m sure the pay increase is nice, but in the face of burnout it’s not enough.

    Olinser in reply to Ironclaw. | September 16, 2022 at 1:22 am

    And why is it like that? Because it’s impossible to attract anybody that doesn’t already want to work there.

    Because the union LOCKS their pay, benefits, and work schedule, there is absolutely no negotiation for an employee, and the company CANNOT offer incentives to hire. Don’t like those hours, the pay, or the benefits? Tough cookie, you either take it or leave it.

    The union is the one that negotiated the contract, and they have to cover the shifts. At every turn the unions have REFUSED to allow the companies to offer any kind of incentive to actually attract people to fill the open positions, so the employees that are there are simply forced to cover it.

    The only thing that matters in the union is seniority in the union. The ‘good’ jobs and shifts are always taken by the most senior members and screw anybody else. The new ones are the ones forced to constantly work the crap schedules and get no time off.

    The plant I work in is a union plant and it operates exactly the same way. 2 people know how to operate a machine on a shift, and the machine will run on Saturday due to high volume. Who has to work? Lower seniority. Next Saturday? Same lower seniority. 3rd Saturday? Lower seniority. Younger guy has now worked 10 Saturdays in a row because of heavy volume on the line and needs a break? Too bad, he’s still working next Saturday because the more senior guy doesn’t want to do it. Younger guy wants Saturday off to go to his kid’s graduation? Too bad, the more senior guy doesn’t want to do it, he’s forced to do it.

    Unions don’t give a crap about the workers, they do what is best for THE UNION.

      Ironclaw in reply to Olinser. | September 16, 2022 at 9:36 am

      You prove my point, and I’ve been stuck as that less senior guy. Eventually the words I QUIT alleviate the problem.

      diver64 in reply to Olinser. | September 16, 2022 at 10:53 am

      Ive been into a lot of Union shops. Steel mills, glass plants, paper plants, eyc and have yet to see one where the workers do half the job a non union plant does. Surly, rude and “not my job” comes to mind

“Biden called the deal ‘a win for tens of thousands of rail workers who worked tirelessly through the pandemic to ensure that America’s families and communities got deliveries of what have kept us going during these difficult years.’”

The rest of you MAGAts who did the same thing, especially those of you who lost your businesses to it, can suck it. Next time, squeak harder, if they let you squeak at all.

The timing of the pending strike was impeccable.

Biden couldn’t afford another hit to the supply chain. He has run out his quota.

Biden may have simply kicked the can closer to the election, when the strike will do more damage. Too early to tell.

Joe does it the old fashioned way.
He buys them off.
With other people’s money.