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I’ve Been Working on the Railroad…

The House voted on legislation to stop a December 9th rail strike.  The legislation would enforce the September tentative agreement by the Presidential Emergency Board.  Speaker Pelosi held two votes: one on the legislation and the other to "add seven days of paid sick leave for railroaders" to the tentative agreement, which has been a contention for railroad employees who opposed the deal, and could persuade some progressive lawmakers to support the main agreement.  Sen. Sanders (I-VT) said that he intends to block quick consideration until a roll call vote is held regarding sick days.  Per him, "at a time of record profits in the rail industry, it's unacceptable that rail workers have ZERO guaranteed sick days." Senate Majority Leader Schumer and Minority Leader McConnell said they intend to pass the legislation "as quickly as possible." It is estimated that a potential strike would cost the economy $2 billion a day. Congress has stepped in during similar labor disputes 16 times and an enacted agreement would apply to all 12 unions for the next two years, until the next bargaining round begins.

Finally, President Biden stated, “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. This agreement was approved by labor and management negotiators in September.  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."