Members of Congress tell colleagues to be prepared to act on rail deal

With the Thanksgiving holiday behind us, all eyes are ahead to see how rail owners and unions will hand a potential strike with the “cooling off period” set to end in less than 10 days.

Earlier in the wee, the Smart Transportation Union which represents 28,000 employees voted to reject the deal brokered by the White House. That vote brought the total number of unions rejecting the deal to four.

President Biden says that a shutdown would be unacceptable, but says that he wants the unions and owners to resolve the dispute themselves.
The last time the nation saw a freight rail shutdown was in the early 1990s.

The NCGA says a strike would just be another blow to the ag industry after weeks of low levels along inland waterways.

According to NCGA President Tom Haag, “That would happen to shut down, then all of a sudden we have our truckers available. Well, how many trucks is it going to take if we have issues on the river plus the train to try to get this product moved? And plus we also got high diesel prices.”

The groups have until December 8th to land a deal.

Congress does have the power to pass legislation to keep the railways open through the Railway Labor Act. Congressional leaders, like Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, are calling on others in Congress to be prepared to take action if all twelve unions cannot agree on a deal.