Good news: The strike won’t happen until Nov. 8th. Bad news: I hope you didn’t need any Christmas presents or holiday foods. Meanwhile, Transportation Secretary Buttigieg is doing the campaigning nobody wants Biden to do.
We have been following developments related to a potential rail strike as unions try to negotiate a new contract with employees unhappy with proposals that have already been offered.
Now there is news that a second union has rejected a deal that was hammered out last month between rail companies, unions, and the Biden administration.
The vote by the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, the second union to reject the White House-brokered deal, elevates the likelihood of a nationwide strike when a negotiation deadline arrives in November.
The potential work stoppage could paralyze the nation’s supply chain and transportation rail service as the U.S. enters peak holiday season.
…The vote against the contract centered on frustration with a lack of paid sick days, according to a statement from Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen President Michael Baldwin. “For the first time that I can remember, the BRS members voted not to ratify a National Agreement,” he said.
The rejection of the deal came despite a 24% compounded wage increase and preservation of the members’ health care benefits, Baldwin added.
The “good news” is that the unions apparently agreed to help Biden out by not striking until after the Nov. 8th election.
The bad news: The strike may occur in time to impact supplies for the Christmas season.
It stipulated that there would be no work stoppage until December at the earliest. The same is likely true for the other holdout unions as well.
he hope of the railroads had been that the first failed vote was essentially a fluke. The vote by members of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division on Oct. 10 had been followed by two more union memberships voting to accept the deal, bringing six of the 12 railroad unions on board.
But half the unions are not the “all aboard” the railroads were hoping for.
“Railroaders do not feel valued,” Tony Cardwell, BMWED union president, told the trade publication Progressive Railroading at the time of the first “no” vote. “They resent the fact that management holds no regard for their quality of life, illustrated by their stubborn reluctance to provide a higher quantity of paid time off, especially for sickness.”
Worried businesses are now seeking help from Congress and the White House.
A coalition involving 322 business groups from a variety of industries signed off on a letter to President Biden Thursday urging him to make sure the deals he helped broker, get approved because a railroad strike would have dire consequences for the economy.
All 12 rail unions must approve their agreements to prevent a strike next month.
“It is paramount that these contracts now be ratified, as a rail shutdown would have a significant impact on the U.S. economy and lead to further inflationary pressure,” wrote the group.
I wish those businesses a ton of good luck obtaining any meaningful assistance from Biden, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, or Congress as it is currently constituted.
In fact, where is Buttigieg now? Doing the campaigning nobody wants Biden to do.
The youngest member of President Biden’s cabinet on Friday sought to boost turnout among youth voters, an important group for Democrats and one that historically has not shown up in big numbers for non-presidential elections.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, appearing near the campus of Wisconsin’s largest university, noted the youthfulness of the state’s Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes.
“It would be nice to have a few more youngsters in D.C.,” Mr. Buttigieg, 40 years old, told those gathered in a hotel ballroom just east of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s campus.
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