President Joe Biden scheduled an impromptu Rose Garden presser on Thursday to celebrate a tentative deal reached with U.S. railroad unions which averted a railroad strike and massive damage to the country’s supply chain.
If ultimately approved by the unions, the deal will result in a 24 percent increase in pay by 2024 and a lump sum of $11,000 for every railroad worker to cover what they feel they have been owed since 2020.
Along with the president, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh hosted the protracted negotiations and avoided a strike that would have cost $2 billion a day in losses.
This most recent celebration came on the heels of a stupefying Rose Garden speech on Wednesday in which Biden took a victory lap for the passage of the “Inflation Reduction Act,” (which some refer to more accurately as the “Inflation Expansion Act”) ironically as inflation reached 8.3 percent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted in real-time by over 1,000 points.
(Video: Daily Mail)
“It feels good… they should be home in bed,” Biden said of the negotiators after the tentative deal was reached.
“Twenty straight hours and I want to thank business and labor. They earned and deserve these benefits. And this is a great deal for both sides. In my view.”
The agreement is also a victory for railway companies,” Biden said.
He also called it “a win for tens of thousands of rail workers and for their dignity, and the dignity of their work. It’s a recognition of that.”
The marathon negotiations were said to have run through the night and into Thursday morning after Biden allegedly called in to the discussions at 9pm Wednesday. How many hours Biden was awake and alert during that time is unknown.
“It is clearly in the nation’s best interest to avoid a strike, the damage from which would be catastrophic since railroads are a single point of failure for so many aspects of the American economy,” conservative economist EJ Antoni of the Heritage Foundation told the Daily Mail.
“Whether this tentative deal is ultimately accepted by the unions or not, the fact remains that failed policies emanating from Washington got us into this mess, and the higher labor costs faced by the railroads will ultimately be passed on to the consumer in full. Inflation and welfare expansion have actually played a key role in creating the current friction between labor and management,” he said.
The deal must now be voted on by union members. But even if is rejected, the language of the negotiations keeps the railways operating for several weeks, averting a strike which would have affected passenger rail services that share freight lines as well.
“These rail workers will get better pay, improved working conditions, and peace of mind around their health care costs: all hard-earned,'” Biden said.
“The agreement is also a victory for railway companies who will be able to retain and recruit more workers for an industry that will continue to be part of the backbone of the American economy for decades to come.”
The multiple unions involved in the negotiations represent around 60,000 employees, so the lump sum payments discussed amount to around $660 million right off the bat.
Locomotive engineers currently earn around $73,000 a year on average, and the deal would raise the salaries of signalmen and other vital railway positions as well.
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