Nate Jackson / November 29, 2022

Biden Railroads Union Workers

The president is pushing for Congress to override four unions that rejected a deal his administration helped craft.

If railroad workers strike over failing to reach an agreement on a new contract, the already-taxed American supply chain will suffer, and you will pay more and/or wait longer for certain things. Who wants to sign up for more of that after the last two years?

Roughly 40% of long-distance freight volume is carried by rail, so a looming strike at the December 9 deadline — just in time for Christmas — is a big deal.

There are 12 railroad unions that must vote on the contract, and four of the biggest ones have rejected the latest deal. If they strike, the rest could join them in solidarity. The haggling involves paid sick days and work schedules, though over two years of negotiations workers have already won an additional paid day off and a 24% pay raise from 2020 through 2024.

The deal will raise prices on goods across the economy because the cost of rail transport will rise by, oh, at least 24%, but a strike would be much worse, especially if it lasts significant time.

Joe Biden and his crack team of economic neophytes like Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg have been working on this for months with little success but a lot of boasting. Biden certainly hopes to avoid a strike that will “devastate our economy,” and yesterday he called for Congress to intervene.

“I am calling on Congress to pass legislation immediately to adopt the Tentative Agreement between railroad workers and operators — without any modifications or delay — to avert a potentially crippling national rail shutdown,” he said. “This agreement was approved by labor and management negotiators in September,” he added. “On the day that it was announced, labor leaders, business leaders, and elected officials all hailed it as a fair resolution of the dispute between the hard-working men and women of the rail freight unions and the companies in that industry.”

He claims to be “reluctant to override the ratification procedures and the views of those who voted against the agreement,” but he’s never been shy about using that pen of his or, in this case, the weight of Congress.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she’s happy to oblige, promising that the House “will consider legislation” on the matter “this week.”

Now, to the irony of the whole mess. Biden insisted in his statement Monday that he remains a “a proud pro-labor president,” but his policies have done virtually nothing but harm union members. Let’s just list a few things he and his party do or support that hurt the interests of workers:

  • They shut down much of the economy over a virus and then injected far too much “stimulus” via government spending to fix what they broke. That created a horrific tag team of disrupted or constricted supply chains to go along with drastically increased and subsidized demand. The result: Rampant inflation not seen since Jimmy Carter’s malaise brought on the same thing.

  • Biden and his administration have opened the southern border to millions of illegals who compete for jobs with American workers.

  • Democrats’ agenda of addressing climate change with government controls hampers union workers in all sorts of industries. Biden killed thousands of union jobs with the stroke of a pen shutting down the Keystone pipeline.

  • Biden and other Democrats enacted vaccine mandates that negatively affected millions of workers, costing a lot of them their jobs. The AFL-CIO did dutifully jump on board Biden’s vax mandate, but let’s just say other unions weren’t quite so thrilled.

  • Pushing for a $15 minimum wage for some kid making lattes at Starbucks tells a skilled laborer at a railroad company that his hours are far more valuable (and they are), meaning big pay raises are necessary even if not fully economically justified and therefore hard to get. Putting upward pressure on wages is inflationary.

  • Union workers tend to be far more interested in favorable working conditions and compensation than all the woke garbage being forced upon all of us by the Left.

Now Biden wants to override their votes and tell them to get back to work. It’s no wonder blue-collar folks are moving Republican.

On a final note, Biden wants action now because the buck stops at his desk no matter how often he tries to shove it somewhere else. That makes it even more fascinating to remember that the last time Congress intervened to prevent a railroad strike was 1992. Six U.S. senators voted against forcing that deal. Joe Biden was one of them.

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