Rail strike emerges amid midterms, inflation: Team Biden still has work to do

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Inflation persists at record highs as the Fed moved back to raise interest rates. These economic realities – including a looming downturn – continue to color the fast-approaching midterm elections, with Republicans gaining steam to make significant gains in Congress.

If things are as predicted, that is The White House will belong loss and recession.

Looming behind the scenes, however, is a potential rail strike that could bring the economy to its knees and accelerate the inflation the administration created and wanted to stop. The White House will have this too.

President Biden speaks about infrastructure investment in the LA Metro, D Line Extension Transit Project - Part 3, in Los Angeles, October 13, 2022.

President Biden speaks about infrastructure investment in the LA Metro, D Line Extension Transit Project – Part 3, in Los Angeles, October 13, 2022.
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

By way of background, the Biden administration took a victory lap after helping broker an agreement between the railroads and labor unions to prevent a strike. Workers should still vote on the deal, and it seems that President Biden and his team may have been celebrating too much.

RAILWAY REFUSES DEMANDS FROM HOLDOUT UNION, PEOPLE ARE ON STRIKE

As covered on Fox News, workers who maintain the physical infrastructure for freight trains – road maintenance workers – rejected the deal. Most recently, the Signalmen follow.

Despite publicly stating throughout the process that the main priority of the maintenance workers is an increase in the total cost of travel, and approving the agreement sent to the members for a ratification vote, the union leaders have had a cold period. He took to the airwaves to talk about the need for time off.

A CSX freight train passes through Homestead, Pennsylvania, on September 14, 2022.

A CSX freight train passes through Homestead, Pennsylvania, on September 14, 2022.
(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

This is an important point, and the mainstream media continues to report that railway workers have no time off, despite the fact that they have a generous time off and sick leave policy. This is the result of a round of bargaining in which the union opted for higher general wages and more generous paid time off for extended absences, against short-term leave. It kicks in after four days and is paid off.

Many workers would love such a perk.

Most US workers will also enjoy a 24% wage increase brought by the contract, as well as $11,000 in immediate back pay. The average freight train employee will soon earn a salary of $110,000 a year and a total compensation package of $160,000. The industry provides what is essentially a single payer health care system where workers pay a small amount into the system.

“Increased wages, increased health benefits and concessions on paid time represent an important victory for workers and serve as an example of how important strong union leadership is to its members,” said one New York labor leader.

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But right after the victory was declared in the White House, there is a real possibility that this deal could unravel. The reason is clear: union leaders refuse to take responsibility for the agreement they negotiated. They cravenly tell members to vote their conscience, and the White House has done little to hold them to account. This action defies historical precedent and undermines the very premise of reach an agreement.

The result today is that self-confessed socialist agitators, who recently called for the railways to be taken over and nationalised, continue to manipulate media coverage with their misleading spin. They ignore the facts of this generous agreement, claiming that the deal is inadequate. This is despite the fact that the union negotiators agreed to it. Six of the 12 unions have ratified the agreement. They ignore the intense participation of President Biden. Is it a good enough deal for half the union but may not be good for others?

Employees will continue to vote on the day until mid-November – after the midterm elections. Workers can strike only if the agreement is not approved. Estimates show that the rail strike will cost the US economy $2 billion per day, a clear recipe for fueling inflation and mucking up supply chains that are finally starting to unclog.

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The White House shouldn’t let that happen. Management has repeatedly made concessions, considerable. They certainly will not make more – period.

It’s time for the White House to get back into action their union friends.

CLICK HERE to read more by STEVE FORBES

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