Congressional Democrats are moving toward a vote that would override the wishes of unionized rail workers by imposing a new contract with the nation’s major rail carriers.
The memberships of four out of twelve rail unions — including the largest — have voted against the proposal, sending their leaders back to the bargaining table for a better deal.
But the best Democrats They plan to force them to sign the contract through legislation to prevent a major rail strike in December, which could be detrimental to the economy.
President Joe Biden urged Congress to pass a bill to enforce the tentative contract. This was the top of the agenda at Tuesday’s meeting between Biden, congressional leaders from both sides.
“It’s not an easy call, but I think we have to do it. The economy’s at risk,” Biden spoke after the meeting.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) endorsed Biden’s plan.
“I don’t like going against the ability of the unions to strike,” Pelosi spoke. “But weighing the equities, we must avoid a strike.”
Pelosi stated that the House would vote Wednesday. The Senate might follow suit sometime later.
Lawmakers have noted that a rail stoppage would halt cargo shipments and likely create product shortages, worsening inflation that’s only just begun to show signs of abating. If they decide to impose the contract, however, Democrats This would negate the will of rank-and file union members who rejected the tentative deal mediated by their leaders.
“[Paid leave] is a real easy ask. And it is necessary because of the way railroads are operating.”
– Railroad worker Ross Grooters
To make things even more awkward for the party, workers have been holding out largely for paid sick days and better quality-of-life provisions in their contracts — issues for which Democrats Be a champion.
Some Democrats They might consider changing the deal. Sen Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), criticized the exclusion of sick days paid for. “outrageous” He suggested that he would push for an amendment to bill providing more time off.
“Will I demand a vote to ensure that workers in the railroad industry have what tens of millions of workers have, and workers here on Capitol Hill have: guaranteed paid sick leave? The answer is yes,” Sanders said.
“I’m hopeful we can guarantee them a week of sick days and I’m working with Sen. Sanders and others to get that done,” The Sunday Review was informed by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D.N.Y.).
But Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.Senator John Thune (R-S.D. The Sunday Review reported that the Senate Republican, No. 2, stated that he would interfere with the contract to make it less likely for it to be passed.
“I think if we start messing around with that it could get real messy real fast,” Thune said.
Biden seems to be in line for Thune. The White House stated in a statement However, you can tweak the deal. “well-intentioned,” Would “risk delay and a debilitating shutdown.”
The unions have spent many months negotiating new contracts for the group representing the largest railroad carriers such as BNSF, CSX and Norfolk Southern. Union Pacific. Eight unions approved a tentative deal in September. However, four unions representing the majority workers were against it.
Rail workers are subject to a different collective bargaining law than most other private-sector workers, and it’s much more difficult for them to go on strike. Because of the impact a rail work stoppage could have on commerce, Congress has the ability to step in and impose a contract on both sides — a fact that weakens unions’ leverage during negotiations.
The White House attempted mediation to facilitate the talks which began back in summer. Biden celebrated the September agreement, which he helped to broker. However, many workers were unhappy with its details and voted against the deal. Biden stated that he was “reluctant” The tweet thread Monday suggested that he would override contract ratification, but that he argued that “Congress must use its powers to adopt this deal.”
Ross Grooters from Iowa told The Sunday Review Tuesday that many workers were dissatisfied, if they weren’t surprised to see his work. Democrats Moving towards implementing the contract. He expressed hope that legislators will improve the agreement and include paid sick leave.
“That is a real easy ask,” said Grooters, who’s a co-chair of Railroad Workers United, an activist group from multiple rail unions. “And it is necessary because of the way railroads are operating and the way they’ve failed to adequately staff the industry.”
Grooters stated that workers are tired of being unable to control their own lives because of punitive scheduling systems.
“Railroads have really tried to adapt to the current corporate culture,” He stated. “They want all the things that make it profitable without the things that also come along with that, which means taking care of their workforce.”
Grooters said there were probably some workers who didn’t like the deal but voted in favor of it anyway, knowing Congress could implement it regardless to avoid a strike.
BMWED, which is a division in the Teamsters union, was one of those who voted against the deal. statement Tuesday: The deal Biden wants to impose “does not address [the] rail industry disease.”
“It will worsen supply chain issues and further sicken, infuriate, and disenfranchise Railroad Workers as they continue shouldering the burdens of the railroads’ mismanagement,” According to the union.