The deadline is fast approaching for President Joe Biden to reach a resolution before 115,000 railroad workers go on strike.
If the strike is not prevented, there will be a severe disruption in America’s supply chain with the deliveries of crops, cars, imported goods, and raw materials affected.
According to The Associated Press (AP), before Monday’s deadline, Biden is expected to name a board of arbitrators responsible for reviewing the contract dispute and making recommendations surrounding how to settle to try and prevent the strike.
After Biden names a board of arbitrators, under the federal law that governs railroad contract talks, any strike action or lockout will be delayed for 60 days.
AP reported that Biden had been urged by businesses that rely on railroads to appoint the Presidential Emergency Board to try and hasten a deal.
Major trade unions of railroad shippers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wrote to Biden explaining the catastrophic economic disruptions that could result from a rail strike.
Rob Benedict, who is with the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers group, told AP, “Any strike is bad.”
He added, “We want to avoid that at all costs, especially when we are in a precarious situation like our nation is now in light of our current supply chain crisis.”
Additionally, should all else fail, Congress would likely intervene to prevent a strike from occurring. Even though the railroads are disappointed that a deal has not yet been reached, according to NCCC Chairman Brendan Branon, they have hope the presidential board will be able to assist.
Branon told AP, “It remains in the best interests of all parties – and the public – for the railroads and rail labor organizations to settle this bargaining round by entering mutually acceptable agreements that provide prompt pay increases to the nation’s hard-working rail employees and prevent rail service disruptions.”
Moreover, even though union officials have stated they do not want to enact a strike, they will do so if an agreeable resolution is not reached. Per AP, 99% of members belonging to the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen voted to go on strike if a deal is not reached.
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