PanamaTimes

Friday, Apr 19, 2024

US railroad strike averted, Biden   calls deal a ‘big win for America’

US railroad strike averted, Biden calls deal a ‘big win for America’

Major US railroads and unions secured a tentative deal on Thursday after 20 hours of intense talks brokered by President Joe Biden’s administration to avert a rail shutdown that could have hit food and fuel supplies across the country and beyond.
Biden called the deal a “big win for America” and for tens of thousands of rail workers. Thanking business and labor, the Democratic president promised more worker-company agreements in the future.

“I’m optimistic that we can do this in other fields as well,” Biden said.

“Unions and management can work together for the benefit of everyone,” Biden added.

If they accept the deal that was announced at about 5 a.m. (0900 GMT), workers whose pay had been frozen will win double-digit increases and will be allowed to seek certain types of medical care without fear of being punished, union leaders said. The agreement includes an immediate 14.1% wage rise, the railroads said.

Unions, whose members bitterly rejected prior proposals, will now vote on the agreement. Even if those votes fail, a rail strike that could have happened as soon as a minute past midnight on Friday has been averted for several weeks due to the standard language included in such a deal, a person familiar with the negotiations said.

Biden’s Labor Secretary Marty Walsh hosted contract talks in Washington that ran for 20 consecutive hours between unions representing 115,000 workers and railroads including Union Pacific, BNSF, CSX, Norfolk Southern and Kansas City Southern.

Officials are expected to host a news briefing later on Thursday.

Failing to reach a deal before the deadline would have cleared the way for workers to legally strike.

A rail shutdown could have frozen almost 30% of US cargo shipments by weight, stoked inflation, cost the US economy as much as $2 billion per day and unleashed a cascade of transport woes affecting the US energy, agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare and retail sectors.

Railroad shares pared initial pre-market gains after mixed economic data, with Union Pacific up 2.2% in mid-day trading and CSX down 2.0%.

US natural gas futures dropped about 9% after soaring 10% in the prior session; oil futures fell about 4% to a one-week low. Diesel and gasoline futures also fell. Investors expected that a rail strike would have threatened coal supplies to power plants and boost demand for rival energy sources.

Amtrak, which runs passenger rail, said it will resume normal service on Friday after cancelling long-distance trains in anticipation of a strike.

The impact of a shutdown would have stretched beyond U.S. borders because trains link the United States to Canada and Mexico and provide vital connections to massive ships that ferry goods from around the globe.

Negotiations between the companies and a dozen unions had stretched for more than two years, leading Biden to appoint an emergency board in July to help break the impasse. Biden personally called Walsh and negotiators on Wednesday evening to prod them toward a deal, telling them “once again to recognize the harm” that a shutdown would have on families, farmers and businesses, according to a person aware of the negotiations.

National Retail Federation CEO Matthew Shay thanked Biden’s administration for intervening, adding in a statement that his group is “relieved and cautiously optimistic.” Emily Skor, CEO of the biofuel trade group Growth Energy, also praised the deal and noted that much of the country’s ethanol moves by rail.

Freight railroads had halted transportation of hazardous goods, including chlorine for water purification and ammonia for fertilizer, as well as shipments of refrigerated food and other goods that use rail and at least one other mode of transport. Their goal was to prevent cargo from being stranded in unsafe locations.

The railroad industry slashed almost 30% of its workforce over the last six years, cutting pay and other costs as they increased profits, stock buybacks and dividends for investors. Profits at billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, which owns BNSF, rose 9.2% in the most recent quarter to $1.7 billion.

The number of US railway workers has dropped from over 600,000 in 1970 to about 150,000 in 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, due technology and cost-cutting. The result is that many industry workers are on call at all hours, waiting to respond at short notice to work for days at a time.

The latest deal follows some earlier recommendations of the president’s emergency mediators. It includes a 24% percent wage increase over a five-year period from 2020 through 2024 as well$1,000 lump sum payments in each of five years.

Biden, who has called himself the most union-friendly president in history and attacked companies for raking in “excessive” profits, praised a deal he said would give workers “better pay, improved working conditions, and peace of mind around their health care costs.”

The president is not yet out of the woods when it comes to supply-chain labor issues. Some 22,000 union workers at 29 West Coast ports that handle almost 40% of U.S. imports are also in high-stakes labor contract negotiations.
Newsletter

Related Articles

PanamaTimes
0:00
0:00
Close
Apple warns against drying iPhones with rice
In a recent High Court hearing, the U.S. argued that Julian Assange endangered lives by releasing classified information.
Global Law Enforcement Dismantles Lockbit Ransomware Operation
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has died at the Arctic prison colony
The President of Argentina Javier Mile does not fly private, he flies commercial, with the citizens he represents. And they LOVE him for it.
Bitcoin Reaches $50,000 for First Time in Over Two Years
Belo Horizonte: Brazil's Rising Carnival Hotspot for 2024
In El Salvador, the 'Trump of Latin America' stuns the world with a speech slamming woke policing after winning a landslide election
Tucker’s interview with Putin is over 50M views on X within the first 5 hours.
Finnish Airline, Finnair, is voluntarily weighing passengers to better estimate flight cargo weight
President Nayib Bukele has proudly announced El Salvador's remarkable achievement of becoming the safest nation in the Western Hemisphere.
Former Chilean President Sebastian Piñera Dies in Helicopter Crash
This farmer seems to understand science a bit more than the event organizer, Klaus Schwab.
Facebook turns 20: From Mark Zuckerberg's dormitory to a $1trn company
The Coolest Dictator in the World" on the Path to Victory in El Salvador
Macron, France and fake news
Indian-Origin Man 'King' Arrested For Smuggling $16 Million Drugs Into US
Can someone teach Americans that not every person with slanted eyes is Chinese?
Europe's Farmers Feeding the People, Protesting Against Politicians Who Do Nothing for Their Country and Serve Only Themselves at Taxpayers' Expense
Paris Restaurant That Inspired 'Ratatouille' Loses $1.6 Million Worth Of Wine
Brazilian Police Investigate Bolsonaro's Son for Alleged Illegal Spying
Police in Brazil Raid Residence of Bolsonaro Associate Over Allegations of Illegal Spying
Border Dispute Escalates as Texas Governor Vows Increased Razor Wire
OpenAI Enhances ChatGPT-4 Model, Potentially Addressing AI "Laziness" Issue
The NSA finally acknowledges spying on Americans by acquiring sensitive data
Report Reveals Toxic Telegram Group Generating X-Rated AI-Generated Fake Images of Taylor Swift
US Border Patrol States 'No Plans' to Remove Razor Wire Installed in Texas
Bitcoin Experiences Approximately 20% Decline in Value
Klaus Schwab recently appointed himself as the Earth's "trustee of the future."
DeSantis Drops Out, Endorses Trump.
Nikki Haley said former President Trump is "just not at the same level" of mental fitness as he was while president in 2016.
Residents of a southern Mexican town set the government palace on fire in response to the police killing of a young man
Samsung Launches AI-Driven Galaxy S24, Ushering in New Smartphone Era
Judge Questions SEC's Regulatory Overreach in Coinbase Lawsuit
The Ecuador prosecutor who was investigating the television studio attack, has been assassinated.
Is artificial intelligence the solution to cyber security threats?
Vivek Ramaswamy suspends his US election campaign and endorses Trump.
Viral Satire: A Staged Satirical Clip Mistaken as Real Footage from the 2024 World Economic Forum in Davos
The AI Revolution in the Workforce: CEOs at Davos Predict Major Job Cuts in 2024
Ecuador Reports 178 Hostages in Prison Gang Standoff
The Startling Cuban Espionage Case That Has Rattled the US Government
Two Armed Men in Ecuador, Dressed as Batman and The Joker Storm the Streets.
Armed Gang Raids Ecuadorian TV Station Following State of Emergency Declaration
Anti-Democratic Canada: Journalist Arrested for Questioning Canadian Finance Minister on Support of Terrorist Group
Ecuador's 'Most-Wanted' Criminal Vanishes from Prison
Mexican Cartel Supplied Wi-Fi to Locals Under Threat of Fatal Consequences for Non-Compliance
Border Surge Leads to Over 11,000 Migrants Waiting in Northern Mexico
Outsider Candidates Triumph in Latin American Elections
As Argentina Goes to the Polls, Will the Proposal to Replace the Peso with the Dollar Secure Votes?
Fatal Shark Attack Claims Life of Boston Woman Paddleboarding Near Bahamas Resort, According to Police
×