Shippers Ask Biden to Intervene to Prevent Rail Strike

Railroad shippers are asking the Biden administration to again intervene to thwart a national railroad work stoppage.

Several trade groups collaborated to send President Joseph Biden a letter asking him to work with railroad labor unions and railroad management to win ratification of a tentative contract.

Thus far that contract has been rejected by healthy margins by two unions, ratified by six unions and four unions are still voting.

The Biden administration in September intervened with union leaders and the National Carriers Conference Committee to reach a tentative agreement that headed off a potential work stoppage then.

The letter sent by trade groups representing manufacturers, farmers, food and beverage producers, and retailers cited the adverse effects a work stoppage would have on the nation’s economy.

“It is paramount that these contracts now be ratified, as a rail shutdown would have a significant impact on the U.S. economy and lead to further inflationary pressure,” the letter said.

“Because the White House played such a central role in the process, we believe it can be helpful in continuing to move the process forward in a positive direction. Otherwise, Congress will be called upon to act.”

A railroad work stoppage would not occur before December. The United States last saw a work stoppage in 1992.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said earlier this week that the administration has been in contact with the two sides.

During a press briefing, she would not say if Biden has been involved in those talks.

She described as “misguided” any view that Congress would quickly settle any work stoppage as it has in past disputes.

“We stand ready, as we did earlier this year, to support the parties in their efforts,” Jean-Pierre said. “We continue to urge both sides to work in good faith and avoid even the threat of a shutdown.”

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