a tentative rail labor agreement was reached that averted the strike

a tentative rail labor agreement was reached that averted the strike

President Joe Biden said Thursday that a tentative rail work deal has been reached, averting a potentially devastating strike ahead of crucial midterm elections.

Railroad and union representatives had been in negotiations for 20 hours at the Labor Department on Wednesday to reach an agreement, as there was a risk of a strike from Friday that could have shut down rail lines across the country. Biden made a key phone call to Labor Secretary Marty Walsh at 9 p.m. as talks continued after the Italian dinner was brought in, according to a White House official who insisted on anonymity.

What resulted from the back-and-forth was a tentative agreement to be put to a vote by union members after a post-ratification cooling-off period of several weeks.

“These rail workers will get better wages, better working conditions and peace of mind about their health care costs – all hard-earned,” Biden said. “The deal is also a victory for rail companies who will be able to retain and recruit more workers for an industry that will remain part of the backbone of the American economy for decades to come.”

The threat of a shutdown had put Biden in a sticky political spot. The Democratic president believes that unions built the middle class, but he also knew that a strike by rail workers could hurt the economy before the midterm elections.

That left him in an awkward position on Wednesday. He flew to Detroit, a stronghold of the labor movement, to defend the virtues of unionization, while members of his administration did their best to keep talks in Washington between the railroads and unionized workers.

As the administration tried to forge peace, Ryan Buchalski, a member of the United Auto Workers Local 598, introduced Biden at the Detroit auto show on Wednesday as “the most pro-union, pro-worker president in American history.” and someone who was “kicking ass for the working class.” Buchalski harkened back to the pivotal sit-down strikes of autoworkers in the 1930s.

In the speech that followed, Biden acknowledged that he would not be in the White House without the support of unions like the UAW and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, saying that autoworkers “took me to the dance.”

[Con información de The Associated Press]

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Written by Editor TLN

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