Joe Biden announces tentative agreement to avoid rail strike

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Joe Biden announces tentative agreement to avoid rail strike

Strike would shut down 7,000 trains in the United States and could cost $2 billion a day.

US railroads and unions have reached a tentative agreement to prevent a major US freight strike at the end of the week, President Joe Biden has announced.

The tentative agreement reached tonight is a significant victory for our economy and the American people, Biden said in a statement posted on the White House website.

< p class="e-p">These rail workers are going to get better pay, better working conditions, and peace of mind about their healthcare costs, the text adds.

The The US executive, which stands to lose a lot in the event of a strike disrupting travel and supply chains for US businesses less than two months from the midterm elections, has been heavily involved in preventing the #x27;such a scenario comes true.

Politically weakened, Joe Biden regularly expresses his support for the unions, but he must also avoid an economic crisis at a time when Americans are already facing very high inflation.

The companies concerned and the two unions mainly representing locomotive drivers had been called to a meeting at the Ministry of Labor on Wednesday morning. They had already been contacted on several occasions by Mr. Biden or his representatives.

All parties must stay around the table, negotiate in good faith to resolve outstanding issues and reach an agreement, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said on Wednesday.

A shutdown of our freight rail system would be unacceptable to our economy, the American people and all parties must work to avoid this, she said.

Anticipating a strike, state-owned Amtrak canceled all mainline trips for its passengers from Thursday to avoid possible disruption along the way. Most trains connecting Boston, New York and Washington on the East Coast were not to be affected, however.

The federation representing the bosses of the sector had warned that if the strike did start Friday at midnight, it would stop 7,000 trains and could cost 2 billion dollars a day. Freight companies began making arrangements for the transportation of hazardous materials on Monday.

The largest agricultural union in the United States called on Congress on Wednesday to act , stressing that transporting grain by truck or boat could not replace transport by train.

Other local passenger transport organizations have warned, such as Virginia Railway Express that connects towns in upstate Virginia to the federal capital Washington, that they should suspend lines as soon as the strike begins.

The leaders of 10 of the 12 unions in the sector had already reached an agreement in recent days.

The demands of the unions are not so much about wages as about the provisions around days off and sick leave. Employees complained that they sometimes had to work long periods of time due to the lack of staff.

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