White House reaches tentative labor agreement to halt rail strike

White House reaches tentative labor agreement to halt rail strike

President Joe Biden said Thursday that the White House has reached an agreement with union representatives and rail workers to prevent a crippling strike scheduled to begin later this week.

Biden said the agreement, which was reached after weeks of negotiations and an extended session in Washington last night, includes higher wages, better working conditions and “peace of mind” regarding health care benefits. “It’s an important win for our economy and the American people,” the president said.

The Biden administration was facing a Friday midnight deadline to broker a deal between rail operators and unions that represent about 60,000 members amid a long-running dispute over working conditions, wages and employee safety.

The strike, had it gone into effect, could have cost the US economy about $2 billion a day, shut down about 30% of the country’s freight traffic, disrupted passenger rail networks and increased inflationary pressures by delaying the delivery of key energy, food and staples. consumer goods.

“I thank the unions and railroad companies for negotiating in good faith and reaching an agreement in principle that will keep our vital rail system running and avoid disrupting our economy,” the president said. “For the American people, the hard work that went into arriving at this principled agreement means our economy can avoid the significant damage any shutdown would have done.”

“With unemployment continuing to approach record lows and signs of progress in cutting costs, tonight’s agreement allows us to continue the fight for long-term economic growth that ultimately works for working families,” the statement added.

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Shares of CSX Corp were up 2.5% in premarket trading on news of the initial agreement to indicate an opening bell price of $31.99 per share.

Meanwhile, shares of Union Pacific rose 4.75% to $228.29 per share.

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