President Biden touts a tentative deal to avert a strike by American railroad workers

President Biden touts a tentative deal to avert a strike by American Railroad workers.
Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 4:16 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2022 at 5:14 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) -President Biden touts a tentative deal to avert a strike by American railroad workers.

That possible deal comes less than 24 hours before a strike that would have shutdown rail service nationwide.

With a tentative deal in place, trains will continue to run on the railways and while President Biden is hailing the agreement, it still needs to be signed before this issue is totally resolved.

“Together we reached an agreement, that will keep our critical rail system working and avoid disruptions of our economy,” said President Joe Biden.

On Thursday afternoon, President Biden announced a potential deal with rail union members. It avoids a strike that would have halted 7,000 freight trains a day.

The President says the labor agreement involves better pay.

“24 percent wage increase over the next five years, improved working conditions, peace of mind around their health care by capping the cost that workers will have to pay. And it’s about the right to go to a doctor or stay healthy and make sure you’re able to have the care you can afford,” said President Biden.

Also, part of the agreement is an extra paid day off, time away from work for routine medical care and hospitalizations.

Gregory DeYong, a Southern Illinois University associate professor of operations management tells me, this deal is not finalized.

“The biggest issue is going to be just getting the actual ratification, getting the votes from the union members accomplished and there’s just, it’s not a huge logistical problem but it’s a lot of people and they have to get that process done and it has to be done right. They have to do it legally and have to follow the rules and such,” said DeYong.

And locally, a rail strike would have impacted farmers.

“The local elevators just don’t have the capacity to keep the grain, they have to move it on pretty quickly and that means putting it either on a rail car or a barge for the most part. And so real quickly there would of been a backup to where the farmers would have to stop harvesting because they just couldn’t move the grain. And so you would see half harvested fields,” said DeYong.

According to the association of American Railroads, the U.S. economy would have lost about $2 billion every day if trains weren’t moving.

“Our nations rail system is the backbone of our supply chain. Everything you rely on, it’s hard to realize this from everything to clean water to food, to gas,” said President Biden.

DeYong tells me he is pretty certain this situation will be completed. He says with as many players that are involved it could take up to a week or two to finalize.