Biden averts freight railroad strike – for now

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A strike would have brought nearly 30% of the nation’s freight to a screeching halt.

Because those workers are covered by a different labor law than most of the nation’s workers, Biden had the power to block a strike by naming a board to try to come up with a compromise labor contract.

“These disputes threaten substantially to interrupt interstate commerce to a degree that would deprive a section of the country of essential transportation service,” said Biden in his order late Friday afternoon.

But the action by Biden could be only a short-term solution, setting the clock is ticking towards a possible work stoppage in 60 days.

The Presidential Emergency Board that Biden named Friday has 30 days to try to find a solution satisfactory to both sides. If either rejects it, a second 30-day “cooling off” period would begin in which the two sides try to reach a deal.

Only at the end of that second cooling-off period, which would be in mid-September, could the 12 unions that represent the railroad workers go on strike, or the nation’s major railroads could lock out the workers and try to convince Congress to intervene and impose a labor deal more to their liking.

This is a developing story.

July 16, 2022 at 01:39AM

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