Congressional Leaders Say They Will Act To Prevent Nationwide Rail Strike
By Bill Galluccio
November 29, 2022
As a potential strike by rail workers looms, President Joe Biden urged lawmakers to take action before meeting with Congressional leaders.
The ongoing negotiations between the nation's freight carriers and 12 workers' unions have had mixed results. While several of the unions have backed a recent deal, four of the unions, including the largest rail union in the country, rejected the proposed contract.
The unions that voted in favor of the new contract have said they will not cross the picket lines if other unions choose to strike. However, if a deal is not reached by December 9, the rail workers could walk off the job.
A nationwide rail strike during the Holiday season could have severe economic consequences, costing the country about $2 billion a day in lost economic output.
"Congress, I think, has to act appropriately. It's not an easy call, but I think we have to do it," Biden said before the meeting. "The economy is at risk."
After the meeting, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the lower chamber would take up a bill on the issue on Wednesday (November 30).
"Tomorrow morning, we will have a bill on the floor," she said. "I don't like going against the ability of unions to strike, but weighing the equities, we must avoid a strike. Jobs will be lost. Even union jobs will be lost."
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he would work with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to pass a bill that would prevent the workers from going on strike.