Biden Announces HUGE Agreement – Could This Be a Game-Changer?
(ConservativeHub.com) – In the days leading up to Friday, September 16, unions were battling with rail freight companies over worker pay, benefits, and requirements. If the groups failed to reach an agreement, a strike would have commenced, leading to a daily US economic loss the Association of American Railroads (AAR) estimated at $2 billion per day and causing immense supply chain and transport disruptions. However, President Joe Biden announced his administration helped mediate a tentative deal between the parties.
Railway Shutdown Averted For Now
On Thursday, September 15, the POTUS spoke at a White House ceremony in the Rose Garden about the deal orchestrated between the railroad companies and worker unions. Under the new agreement, employees will receive an immediate 14% pay raise retroactive to 2020, with wages increasing 24% by the end of the contract in 2024, a $1,000 per year cash bonus for the five-year life of the contract, the ability to take time off without penalty for medical crises, and stable healthcare deductibles and copays.
— The Hill (@thehill) September 15, 2022
In a statement released the same day, Biden emphasized these perks will help the industry “retain and recruit more workers” as the tracks “continue to be part of the backbone of the American economy for decades to come.” While these benefits aren’t everything unions pushed for, it was enough to mark a “tentative agreement” for now.
Who Negotiated This Deal?
Labor Secretary Marty Walsh led the negotiations between the two sides on behalf of the Biden Administration. However, on Wednesday, September 14, the Commander-in-Chief himself called into both parties to highlight how vital compromise was in this situation. If they didn’t find a way to come together, Americans would face more food and supply shortages and increased inflation as railway transportation would come to a full stop.
Still, it’s important to note the unions must now vote to ratify the deal before it can legally take effect. While experts hope union membership will certify the agreement, it still could flop. A source told CBS News that both sides agreed to a “post ratification cooling off period” to ensure time for additional negotiations even if the unions reject this proposal.
Restoring the Backbone of America
The parties negotiated in earnest for 20 continuous hours before finally striking the deal early Thursday morning. Yet, Amtrak had already begun canceling many of its longer railroad trips out of an abundance of caution in case they couldn’t avoid the strike. Other companies stopped transporting hazardous substances to prevent leaving trains sitting unmanned for days or weeks.
Now, based on this agreement, the freight companies are ramping back up to their normal schedules to keep people and goods moving to their final destinations.
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