Washington, D.C. (Dec 2, 2022): The American economy and fragile supply chains avoided a disaster today when President Biden signed H.J.Res. 100 into law this morning to implement a Tentative Agreement the rail unions negotiated back in September. There are 12 unions representing America’s rail network – eight unions approved the contract and four rejected it. The main sticking point was the failure to include a week of paid sick leave in the contract.
“This is a huge win for SFIA, U.S. Businesses, Consumers, and the American economy,” said Bill Sells, SVP, Government & Public Affairs, SFIA. “As our nation continues to recover from the pandemic economy and related supply chain challenges, a rail strike would have been devastating.”
The Unions were united and committed to honoring the picket lines of their fellow rail unions when the cooling off-periods expired on December 9, effectively shutting down the U.S. Rail system. A rail stoppage would have frozen almost 30 percent of U.S. cargo shipments by weight, freight would have been stranded in ports with no rail to move it out, ships would be stuck in harbors unable to unload due to overloaded ports, truckers would not receive loads, agriculture goods would rot, and workers would be laid off. It was estimated a rail shutdown would cost the U.S. economy cost $2 billion a day.
SFIA and more than 400 groups representing American business interests sent a letter to Congress last week asking them to intervene under the Rail Labor Act and implement the Tentative Deal negotiated in September with the direct involvement of Labor Secretary Walsh. On Monday, the President met with the four Congressional Leaders from the House and Senate and requested they send him a bill to avert a rail strike. Congress acted with lightning quickness to pass a bipartisan bill in time to avoid any disruptions to the rail system.
Click here to read the full letter.
For more information or for questions, please contact Bill Sells, SVP, Government & Public Affairs, at [email protected].