By Harold W. Reid, The Chicago Times
November 22, 2022
WASHINGTON – The head of the US Chamber of Commerce called on Congress to settle the ongoing railroad labor standoff that threatens to halt shipments of billions of dollars of goods crisscrossing the United States, threatening to interrupt an already fragile supply chain and weakening economy.
Suzanne Clark, US Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, practically begged Congress members to intercede on the growing rail labor struggle after members of the nation’s largest railroad union rejected a tentative agreement brokered by the Biden administration.
“Congress must now impose the deal President Biden negotiated, and the railroads and union leadership agreed to,” Clark said in a statement.
The Presidential Emergency Board, appointed by the Biden administration, released the framework for the tentative deal forged in September between major railroads, like Union Pacific, and a dozen unions representing some 115,000 workers.
Four of the twelve unions have rejected that deal in hopes of squeezing more out of the major railroads and ultimately American citizens. Many in Congress see this as a selfish power play by the four unions. However, union members claim they kept the meager supply chain alive during the pandemic of 2020.
The unions have until 12:01 am on December 9 to settle their differences. If they fail to come to terms, rail workers will go on strike which will force the railroads to lock out employees.
“If Congress fails to do so, a rail strike would substantially exacerbate inflation and the economic challenges Americans are facing today,” Clark said in a statement.