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White House Is Pushing Unions and Rail Companies to Avoid Strike

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White House Is Pushing Unions and Rail Companies to Avoid Strike By Bloomberg

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Economy 9 minutes ago (Sep 13, 2022 16:18)

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© Bloomberg. Train tracks in La Grange, Kentucky.
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(Bloomberg) — President Joe Biden and other senior administration officials remain engaged with unions and freight-rail companies in last-ditch efforts to avert a strike that would disrupt the US economy just weeks before the midterm elections.

A White House official, who requested anonymity to share the discussions, on Tuesday did not offer further details about what the president is telling both sides. Biden got personally involved on Monday. A work stoppage before the November midterms could hurt Democrats’ chances of keeping their congressional majorities.

Close to 125,000 railroad workers are prepared to walk off the job at the end of the week if companies don’t reach agreements with all the labor groups negotiating contracts now, raising the specter of a complete shutdown of the US rail system.

A work stoppage would hit weeks before November’s midterm elections and could hurt Democrats’ chances of keeping their congressional majorities.

Freight-rail operators and unions face a Friday deadline to agree to a new contract and the White House has intensified pressure on both sides to reach an agreement.

On Monday, Senate Republicans introduced a resolution to force the unions to accept the presidential emergency board’s recommendations if a resolution is not reached by Friday. 

“A rail-worker strike would be catastrophic for America’s transportation system and our already-stressed supply chain,” Senator Richard Burr said in a statement. “The Biden administration should reject labor unions’ bullying tactics. This resolution would provide certainty for Americans who have a right to travel and work freely across state lines.”

The general chairmen of the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen on Monday voted not to send the tentative contract agreement with US freight carriers to membership for ratification, a move that could lead to a strike or lockout. 

While nine of 12 railroad unions involved in the dispute had reached or were close to reaching tentative agreements with freight carriers as of Monday, members of those unions also would refuse to work unless a deal is reached with the whole group, leaders said.

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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US Poverty Rate Rises for Second Year While Incomes Are Little Changed

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