A large railroad worker strike is possible after a top labor union backed out of an agreement with freight carriers that President Biden negotiated, a snub to a self-avowed union president that spells more trouble for an already struggling economy.
The nation’s third-largest railroad worker union, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division of the Teamsters (BMWED), rejected Biden’s agreement as inadequate, Axios reported.
Biden snubbed by railroad union
President Biden is already on the back foot as he scrambles to control public perceptions of a declining economy and rising gas prices, with Election Day fast approaching.
A railroad strike could exacerbate supply chain problems that have driven up the price of goods, and interfere with the Christmas shopping season for the second year in a row.
Twelve unions represent the nation’s railroad workers. Several have yet to vote on the agreement, with voting scheduled to be done by November 17.
The agreement included pay raises but lacked concessions on paid sick leave that workers had sought.
“Railroaders do not feel valued. They resent the fact that management holds no regard for their quality of life, illustrated by their stubborn reluctance to provide a higher quantity of paid time off, especially for sickness,” said BMWED president Tony Cardwell.
White House says “no immediate threat”
The White House says they are committed to resolving the issue.
“We stand ready to support the parties in their efforts, and continue to urge both sides to finish their work and avoid even the threat of a shutdown in the future,” spokesman Robyn Patterson said.
In some good news for Biden, any strikes won’t happen until November 19, after the midterm elections, Newsweek reported.
Oddly, the administration said the economy faces “no immediate threat” given the slight delay.
Did they mean to say that Biden’s political prospects face no immediate threat? It appears that once again, Biden is getting his own interests confused with the nation’s.