After failing to negotiate a deal with railroad employees and management, President Joe Biden requested Congress on Monday to adopt legislation to negotiate a deal.
“I am calling on Congress to swiftly enact legislation to accept the Tentative Agreement between railroad employees and operators – without any amendments or delay – to prevent a potentially catastrophic national rail shutdown,” Biden said in a White House statement.
Despite his and his administration’s best efforts, Biden said in the statement that his advisers and cabinet members concluded there was “no avenue to resolve the matter at the negotiation table.”
If a deal is not reached, over 7,000 freight trains might be idled by December 9th, costing companies up to $2 billion each day.
The president made a great show in September after reaching an agreement to prevent a strike right before the 2022 midterm elections..
“Today is a win — and I mean it really — a win for America,” he said triumphantly in an address in the Rose Garden on September 15, praising his talents as a dealmaker.
After spending his entire political career riding on Amtrak trains from his home in Delaware to Washington, DC, the president takes pride in being a supporter of rail employees and trains.
Rail workers are requesting paid sick days as part of their new contract, but Biden urged Congress to intervene to resolve the conflict, threatening significant economic implications if nothing is done.
“Let me be clear: a train closure would be catastrophic for our economy. Many companies in the United States would close if freight rail did not exist,” Biden remarked.
He attempted to justify his declaration of an emergency by claiming that he was “reluctant” to seek Congress to resolve the labor conflict since he was a “proud pro-labor president.”
Members of Congress on the left have regularly chastised railway corporations for failing to negotiate paid time off with their employees.
“The train industry’s greed must end,” tweeted Sen. Bernie Sanders on social media, criticizing wealthy railway owners like Warren Buffet for earning big profits but not passing them on to employees.