New York
Sunday Review Business

In September, President Joe Biden was the most union-friendly president in recent history and got involved in negotiations that led to a Tentative labor deal that was averted a strike At the nation’s major freight railroads. It was a He hailed the deal as a “win for tens of thousands of rail workers.”

But many of those workers didn’t see it that way.

As well a This means that rank-and file members of four of 12 unions have voted NO on the ratification vote, which has slowed down the clock. to a Industry-wide catastrophes could be devastating strike That could happen at 12:01 ET on December 9.

While the rejected contracts would have granted workers their biggest wage increases in 50 years – immediate 14% raises with back pay and 24% raises over the course of five years, plus $1,000 cash bonuses every year In these talks, economics and wages were not a major issue.

Many workers were kept on call by scheduling rules, which allowed them to be available seven days a week. a week, even when they weren’t working, the lack of sick pay common for workers in other industries, and staffing shortages.

The tentative agreements made some improvements in those issues, but they didn’t Visit close to What the union was trying to achieve. Anger among rank-and-file members about scheduling rules and staffing levels that could punish them and make them pay more for their participation. a For over a year, the number of sick days had been increasing. The pandemic brought more attention to the issue. This, along with the record profits reported by many railroads last year, is likely to make the issue even more pressing. again This year, many workers felt the need to be more productive. to vote no.

“Some of this vote, I think, wasn’t necessarily a referendum vote against the contract as much as it was against their employers,” Jeremey Ferguson, president, transportation division, Sheet Metal, Air, Rail Transportation union, which is the largest rail union that represents 28,000 conductors, said. The vote results for Monday’s vote showed that the members of the group voted against the tentative deal.

“Members aren’t necessarily voting on the money issues,” He spoke Tuesday to The Sunday Review. “It’s quality of life, and how they’re treated. When big corporations cut too deep and they expect everybody else to pick up the pace, it becomes intolerable. You don’t have family time, you don’t have time to get adequate rest.”

Widespread opposition was voiced to Some unions that had members who ratified it were able to accept the contract.

Only 54% of members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen voted in favor of the deal. This is the second largest rail union. Union members in the industry opposed the deal knew Congress could vote. to Order them to Return to your job or stay at the job to Work under the terms a A contract that could be They were even worse than those they rejected.

There are many reasons why you might want to nation is We are now at the brink of a strikeSome dating back almost as far as the 1800s a century, to The passing of the Railway Labor Act.

It was passed in 1926. It was one of the nation’s first labor laws and put all types of restrictions on strikes by rail workers that don’t exist for union members at most other businesses.

The law may not allow Congress to do so. to Block eventually a strike Or, order your union members back to work once a strike To begin, the unions argue for limiting the right to strike Has weakened the leverage unions’ need to Reach acceptable labor deals to The majority of their members.

“Congress staying out of it would obviously giving unions leverage,” Dennis Pierce, president of Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen. He stated that other businesses are aware of the costs they face if they don’t pay. a Union goes on strike that the railroads don’t have to pay.

A strike It would be a Body blow to The nation’s As 30% of the supply chain is still in trouble, it’s still a difficult one. nation’s freight As measured by distance and weight, rail moves. It’s impossible to run a 21st century economy without this 19th Century technology.

Many people think the US economy is a joke. is Risque of recession and would be seriously damaged a Longer rail strike. All things short of gasoline to Food to Automobiles could be produced, which could drive up the price of all products. Factories may be forced to close Temporarily due to They lack the parts they require.

That is Many expect Congress to be a success. to Step in and force a Contract on the members of the four unorganized unions that have not yet to The deals that were proposed.

“I don’t think it’s anyone’s goal to get Congress involved, but Congress has shown a willingness historically to intervene if necessary,” said Ian Jefferies, CEO of the Association of American Railroads, the industry’s trade group.

Would a Divided Lame Duck Congress be able to Bipartisan agreement to Act quickly and immediately to Stop or End a strike? “This is not a political issue. This is an economic issue,” He stated.

For Jefferies, “best outcome” is The railroads and unions that rejected the deals to Reach an agreement about new deals that the rank-and file can ratify. Initial rejection of the deal by one rail union, machinists only, was made by the first rail union. to Ratify a The agreement has been slightly modified, but only 52% of members voted in favor.

“There’s absolutely opportunities if a ratification fails the first time to sit down and come to additional agreements and put that out and get the [tentative agreement] ratified,” Jefferies.

However, the unions assert that railroads do not want to be there. to They are counting on Congress to negotiate on issues such a sick leave. to They should be rewarded a They will not accept any deal that isn’t in their best interest, even though the railroads report record profits or near record profits. to Give the unions what you want.

“They’re telegraphing they expect Congress to save them,” said Pierce, president of the engineers’ union. He is joined by the other union leaders. They fear that Congress will not act, even though Democrats who control both houses at the present Lame Duck session are reluctant to act. to vote to Block a strike In September, the strike deadline approached.

“It’s hard to say what Congress will do,” said Pierce.

Union supporters who don’t want to return to He added that Congress may not be able to attend the Lame Duck session next years. And the railroads’ and business groups’ hope of quick action by Congress could be derailed by other items on the Congress’ busy agenda.

Pierce and other union leaders are concerned that some pro-union members could vote. to Block or end a strike Instead of being held responsible for disruptions a strike This would result in.

“I didn’t get sense they had stomach to let a strike upend the economy,” He stated.

The unions have intentions to Lobby Congress to Try to Stop any legislation requiring them to Continue working or return to work soon after a strike starts. They still expect. to Lobbyists for railroads and other business interests will not allow you to be outgunned.

“I expect they’ll have about one lobbyist for every member of Congress,” Pierce said.

A strike Would once again put Biden in a The pro-union president would find himself in a difficult spot as he would have to choose between angry union allies and those who want to Allowable to go on strike Or risk the economic downheaval that could result strike This would result in.

While Biden doesn’t have the authority at this point in the process to Unanimously order the railroad workers to To continue his job as he did last July, he would be required to to Any Congressional action that you approve of must be signed off to Take effect

Karine Jean Pierre, White House press secretary, reiterated earlier White House comments on Tuesday “a shutdown is unacceptable because of the harm it would inflict on jobs, families.” But she wouldn’t answer questions as to Biden or not is Preparation to You agree to The Congressional mandate a Contracts that workers consider unacceptable.

“We are asking the parties involved, to come together in good faith and resolve this,” She added that “the President is directly involved” in discussions once again.

Railway Labor Act if Congress does not act is Doing what was intended to The railroads tell you so.

“The goal of the Railway Labor Act was to reduce the likelihood of a work stoppage,” said the AAR’s Jefferies. “And it’s been remarkably effective in doing that. The last work stoppage we had was 30 years ago, and it lasted 24 hours before overwhelming bipartisan congressional [action to end the strike]. I think all parties agree that a work stoppage or a shutdown of the network is not helpful to anybody involved.”