image description

House votes to avert rail strike, impose deal on unions

November 30th, 2022 by WCBC Radio

The U.S. House moved urgently to head off the looming nationwide rail strike on Wednesday, passing a bill that would bind companies and workers to a proposed settlement that was reached in September but rejected by some of the 12 unions involved. The measure passed by a vote of 290-137 and now heads to the Senate. If approved there, it will be quickly signed by President Joe Biden, who requested the action.

Biden on Monday asked Congress to intervene and avert the rail stoppage that could strike a devastating blow to the nation’s fragile economy by disrupting the transportation of fuel, food and other critical goods. Business groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Farm Bureau Federation

The bill would impose a compromise labor agreement brokered by the Biden administration that was ultimately voted down by four of the 12 unions representing more than 100,000 employees at large freight rail carriers. The unions have threatened to strike if an agreement can’t be reached before a Dec. 9 deadline.

Lawmakers from both parties expressed reservations about overriding the negotiations. And the intervention was particularly difficult for Democratic lawmakers who have traditionally sought to align themselves with the politically powerful labor unions that criticized Biden’s move to intervene in the contract dispute and block a strike.