Saturday, May 27, 2023

Biden’s intervention in rail contract fight to stop strike

President Joe Biden on Friday halted a freight rail strike that would disrupt shipments of all types of goods for at least 60 days, by naming a board of arbitrators to intervene in the contract dispute.

The widely expected move will see the hiring of 115,000 rail workers while the moderators develop a set of contract recommendations for both parties to consider. Biden had to act before Monday to prevent a possible strike. After the release of these recommendations, a new round of talks is likely.

The President, in an executive order naming the arbitrators, wrote that he was “notified by the National Board of Arbitration that in its decision these disputes threaten to impede interstate commerce to an extent that is necessary for the country’s supply of transport service.” will deprive a class.”

If the railroads and their 12 unions cannot agree a contract within the next 60 days, Congress will likely take steps to stop the strike by voting to enforce the terms or take other action.

The Coalition of United Rail Unions said the labor unions are preparing to make their case to the board of arbitrators, and believe that the current economic data shows that what they are demanding could help us in record profits. Membership is more important than contribution. of rail carriers.”

The National Carriers Conference Committee, which represents the nation’s freight railroads in national collective bargaining, commended Biden’s move, noting that it is “in the best interest of all parties and the public – of railroads and railroad workers’ organizations”. To settle the bargain immediately. Round on fair terms which provides prompt and well-deserved increment to the employees and prevents rail service disruptions.”

In a statement, the committee said, “Throughout the negotiation period, the railways has worked to deliberately address the issues raised by both the parties and offer wage hikes that are in line with labor market norms and railways.” Reward employees for the work they do.

Any protracted rail strike could cripple a supply chain that is slowly recovering from backlogs and delays that became common during the pandemic due to labor shortages at ports, trucking companies and railroads as demand for imports soared. Was.

“It’s really in everyone’s interest to avoid the strike,” said Edward Jones analyst Jeff Windau.

Groups representing Union Pacific, BNSF, CSX, Norfolk Southern, Kansas City Southern and other railroads and unions have expressed optimism that this new presidential board will be able to help them resolve a dispute that began more than two years ago. .

Business groups urged Biden to take this step in order to continue operating the railroad. They are concerned about what a strike or lockout will mean for the fragile supply chain as railroads deliver all kinds of raw materials, finished products and imported goods on which businesses depend. Rail strike can put the health of the economy at risk.

The board of arbitrators will hold hearings with both sides to know more about their position before issuing its recommendations about a month from now. Unions and railroads will have 30 days to negotiate a new deal before the strike is allowed under federal law governing rail contract negotiations.

So far, the two sides remain at odds as workers want inflation to be offset and increased health insurance costs reflecting the current nationwide labor shortage.

Railroads says they are offering a double-digit hike on a five-year contract that is justified based on the salaries paid to their employees by other companies on a pre-2020 date.

Unions expect significant growth as railroads have been reporting record profits in recent years as they laid off nearly one-third of their workforce in the past six years as they overhauled their operations.

The unions also want railroads to withdraw their proposals to cut train workers from two people to one, and to ease some of the stricter workplace rules adopted in recent years that say workers can take leave at any time. Difficult to take.

Agreeing to a new deal would help railroads keep hiring more workers, which they are currently struggling to do. Major railroads have said they each need to hire hundreds more workers to handle rising demand as the economy recovers and tackle chronic delays and missed deliveries that have hit their service this year. .

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.`

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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