The Reasoning Behind Vice President Biden’s Decision to End a Train Strike

Vice President Biden’s Decision to End a Train Strike: Despite months of discussions, the deadlock that exists between the freight railways and the unions have not been resolved. In addition, a Republican majority in the House is expected to take over in January. If President Joe Biden intervened to prevent a holiday-season train strike, he was well aware that doing so would expose him to criticism from the unions that he worked closely with.

The Choice by President Biden to End a Train Strike

President Joe Biden knew stopping a holiday rail strike would anger his labor allies. After Biden sought Congress to enforce an agreement that infuriated union supporters, White House aides cautioned Tuesday that a strike would hurt the economy and public health and safety. If the strike threat continues, Republicans, who will take over the House in January, may compel a less labor-friendly accord, the administration said.

Joe Biden expects the Democratic-led Congress to break the standoff this week, despite senators from both parties. Before chlorine runs out this weekend, maybe.

Three individuals familiar with the preparations told POLITICO that Biden’s late Monday push for Congress’ support followed previous phone talks with White House point advisers Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. Biden anticipated unions and progressive politicians would mitigate the impact.

One top Biden aide said of the tough alternative, “We struck a scenario where even if we could get the parties to agree at a table, the process to ratify would extend into the shutdown date” of Dec. 9. Like others, the official discussed the days before the decision privately. “An agreement and approval before the important date were difficult.”

A $2 billion-per-day rail strike could collapse a weak economy. Biden’s offer would leave a dozen unions representing over 100,000 railway workers without concessions on paid sick leave, frustrating the pro-labor president’s most cherished constituency.

The White House prepared talking points anticipating criticism, highlighting that the contract will contain worker-friendly measures from a Sept. 15 preliminary deal Walsh helped organize to avert a rail threat. Examples include a 24% wage increase and microchip manufacturing laws.

The insider said the White House wants rail conversations to terminate in January. “If you can’t agree, let the House GOP introduce the legislation resolving it?” the official added. None. Wednesday’s House vote includes one that would impose contract conditions on the few unions who rejected railroad contracts. Union supporters would cheer a second vote adding seven days of paid sick leave to the accord, but Senate approval would be difficult.

Tuesday witnessed union and progressive outrage, but labor leaders wanted more. The president “seriously disappointed” the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes, one of four railroad contract-rejecting unions. Democratic presidential primaries change. Trump’s inquiry requires Meadows’ testimony. Supreme Court may overturn NY corruption convictions
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Vice President Biden's Decision to End a Train Strike
“A request to Congress to act fast to pass legislation that accepts preliminary agreements that lack paid sick leave violates the Railroad Workers’ concerns,” the union added. “It denies Railroad Workers their right to strike and certain gain.” The “robber baron railroads” that rejected its ideas outraged the union. Sanders-backed labor (I-Vt.).

“At a time of record profits in the rail sector, it’s unconscionable that train employees have ZERO guaranteed paid sick days,” Sanders tweeted. “I will filibuster rail legislation until a roll call vote on providing American railroad workers 7 paid sick days.”

The GOP said Biden betrayed workers. “Asking Congress to intervene in this & turn its back on employees is insane,” tweeted Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott.

The White House could have requested Congress to extend the rail discussions’ “cooling-off” period beyond Dec. 9 to give parties additional time to negotiate. Another administration source claimed the major railroads and train unions who rejected the September accord did not request an extension.

This individual indicated unions did not want White House mediation. “Why didn’t we request a cooling off extension?” the official said. “All sides agreed they were not progressing.” Late Monday, Biden restricted union strikes.

“As a strong pro-labor President, I am reluctant to override the ratification procedures and the views of those who voted against the agreement,” Biden stated Monday evening. Congress should approve this plan since a shutdown will impact millions more employees and families.

The first government official said the measure will not end Sept. 15 side deals with unions and railways. Since then, the railways made more concessions to the unions, but not paid leave. Congress will enforce the agreement. A single senator may slow the Senate, but the House will pass a bill swiftly. Biden and his advisors want Congress to unilaterally adopt the Sept. 15 accord with rail union support.

Senator Biden opposes railroad labor agreement legislation. Congress has used that power 12 times since the Railway Labor Act of 1926, but not since 1991. Congress battled the president. When fertilizer firms threatened to cut supply and clean water, Biden departed. The president and White House did not want a strike that stopped 40% of freight, depriving farmers, carmakers, and other businesses of vital components, supplies, and chemicals.

Disruptions may boost prices. Government support during the COVID-19 epidemic and a significant disparity between consumer demand and labor and materials for finished products keep inflation at 40-year highs. The White House economic team fixed Covid supply chain issues for months. A lengthy rail strike might strand Amtrak’s long-distance freight-line passengers.

Third unidentified administration official argued that the White House required legislative power to force a rail agreement. “We examined all accessible routes,” the individual stated.

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