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Inflation remains at record highs as the Fed moved to raise interest rates again. These economic realities — including an impending downturn — continue to color the fast-approaching midterm elections, with Republicans building momentum to make significant gains in Congress.
If things go as planned, the White House will take the loss and the recession.
Behind the scenes, however, looms a potential railroad strike that could bring the economy to its knees and accelerate the inflation the administration has created and wants to stop. The White House would also own it.
By way of background, the Biden administration took a victory lap after helping broker a deal between the freight railroads and their unions to avert a strike. However, workers have yet to vote on the deal, and it appears President Biden and his team celebrated too soon.
RAILWAYS REJECT UNION HOLDOUT DEMANDS, INCREASING CHANCES OF STRIKE
As covered on Fox News, workers who maintain the physical infrastructure of freight railroads — track maintenance workers — rejected the deal. More recently, flaggers have followed suit.
Although he publicly stated throughout the process that the top priority for maintenance workers was to increase total travel reimbursements and that he approved the agreement sent to members for a ratification vote, the leader of this union was cold-eyed. He took to the airwaves citing the need for more time off.
This has been a major sticking point, with mainstream media continuing to report that railroad workers don’t get furloughs, even though evidence shows they have generous vacation and sick leave policies. This is the result of rounds of bargaining in which the unions have chosen a higher overall salary and more generous paid leave for extended absences, compared to short-term leaves. It starts after four days and is paid.
Many workers would like such a benefit.
Most American workers would also benefit from the 24% wage increase brought by the contracts, as well as $11,000 in immediate back wages. The average freight rail worker will soon earn $110,000 a year in salary and total compensation of $160,000. The industry provides what is essentially a single-payer healthcare system in which workers pay little or nothing into their system.
“Wage increases, improvements in health benefits and concessions on paid vacation represent significant gains for workers and illustrate the importance of strong union leadership for its members,” says a New York labor leader.
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And yet, soon after the proclamation of victory in the White House, there is a real possibility that these agreements will unravel. The reason is clear: the union leaders refuse to take responsibility for the agreements they themselves negotiated. They cowardly tell members to vote according to their conscience, and the White House has done little to hold them to account. These actions challenge historical precedents and undermine the very principle of reaching an agreement.
The result today is that avowed socialist agitators, who recently called for the seizure and nationalization of the railroads, continue to manipulate media coverage with their deceptive trick. They ignore the facts of these generous deals, claiming the deals are inadequate. This despite the fact that the union negotiators accepted it. Six of the 12 unions have already ratified agreements. They ignore the intense involvement of President Biden. Why was the deal good enough for half the unions but maybe not good enough for the others?
Employees will continue to vote on the agreements until mid-November – after the midterm elections. Workers can only strike if agreements are not approved. Estimates show that a railroad strike would cost the US economy $2 billion a day, a clear recipe for worsening inflation and smearing supply chains that are finally beginning to unclog.
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The White House should not let this happen. Management has repeatedly made considerable concessions. Surely they won’t do more – period.
It’s time for the White House to get back into action with its union friends.
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