US Congress moving to take up bill to prevent looming rail strike – Nationwide

Congress is moving quickly to prevent a looming US rail workers’ strike that would be devastating to the nation’s economy if transportation of fuel, food and other vital commodities were disrupted. They are reluctantly intervening in labor disputes.

The House was expected to be the first to act Wednesday after President Joe Biden called on Congress to intervene. The bill the lawmaker is considering would impose a compromise labor agreement brokered by his administration and was ultimately defeated by four of the 12 unions representing more than 100,000 employees. .On a large freight rail carrier. Unions have threatened to go on strike if no deal is reached by the December 9 deadline.

Lawmakers from both parties expressed reservations, but intervention was particularly difficult for some Democratic lawmakers who have traditionally sought to align with politically powerful labor unions.

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Biden Asks US Congress to Intervene to Block Potential Nationwide Rail Strike

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Vermont independent Senator Bernie Sanders, who is rallying with Democrats, is rushing the president’s proposal until it gets a roll call vote on an amendment that would guarantee seven days of paid sick leave for railroad workers. announced its opposition. Some of the more liberal members of the House, including Rep. Jamal Bowman of New York and Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri, tweeted that they could not support the bill.

Still, the bill was expected to receive a sizeable bipartisan vote. The show of support began Tuesday when Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate met with Biden at the White House.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) said on his return to the Capitol that “we all agreed that we should try to avoid closing this railroad as quickly as possible.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s letter to her Democratic colleagues promised two votes, echoing the surprise she had heard from lawmakers. . The second concerns a measure to have the railroad worker add her seven days of paid sick leave to the agreement.

“It is very reluctant to have to act now to avoid the standard ratification process for interim agreements,” Pelosi said. “But we must act to prevent a devastating strike that will affect the lives of nearly every family. Hundreds of thousands of jobs, including union jobs, will disappear. It keeps medicines off the shelves, it prevents small businesses from getting their products to market.”

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Click to play video: 'Biden spoke to lawmakers about possible rail strike: White House'

Biden spoke to lawmakers about possible rail strike: White House

The compromise, backed by a majority of railroads and unions, offers a 24% pay rise and a US$5,000 bonus, dating back to 2020, plus an additional day of paid vacation.

The pay raise is the largest a railroad worker has received in over 40 years. Workers have to pay a larger portion of the cost of health insurance, but premiums are limited to his 15% of the total cost of the insurance plan. However, the agreement did not address workers’ concerns about grueling schedules that made it difficult to take days off and lack of paid sick leave.

Lawmakers from both parties complained about intervening in the debate, but said they had few options.

“The bottom line is that we are in this kind of terrifying situation where we have to choose between an already negotiated, faulty deal and economic catastrophe,” said D-Mass’s Jim McGovern of the House of Representatives. MP said.

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“This is a question of whether or not we close the railroads in America, and that will have a disastrous effect on our economy,” said Rep. Stenny Hoyer of Maryland, a second-class Democrat in the House. said. “We should have a bipartisan vote.”

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The United States on the brink of a national rail strike. How will it affect the economy?

Republicans have criticized the Biden administration and Democrats for Congress being asked to intervene now to avert an economic crisis. But many have shown they are ready to do so.

“This must be difficult in that Democrats generally bow to the unions,” said Sen. Mike Brown, R-Ind.

R-Okla Rep. Tom Cole said:

Business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Farm Service Federation, said in a letter to congressional leaders earlier this week that they were prepared to intervene, saying that the suspension of rail service would be limited to 1,000 yuan per day for any period of time. He said it would hit $2 billion. Economy.

Several times in the past, Congress has intervened in labor disputes by enacting laws to delay or ban rail and airline strikes.

The railroad union on Tuesday accused Biden of calling Congress to intervene in their contract dispute as undermining efforts to address concerns about workers’ quality of life.

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Conductor Gabe Christenson, co-chair of the Railroad Union Coalition, which includes workers from all railroad unions, said Biden and Democrats favor railroads over workers.

“The ‘most worker-friendly president in history’ has proven that he and the Democrats are not on the side of the workers they professed to be,” Christenson said.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

US Congress moving to take up bill to prevent looming rail strike – Nationwide

Source link US Congress moving to take up bill to prevent looming rail strike – Nationwide

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