• Re: Unions, railroad officials head to DC as White House urgently discu

    From Arlo@21:1/5 to David Hartung on Wed Sep 14 08:43:42 2022
    XPost: alt.society.labor-unions, alt.politics.republicans, alt.fan.rush-limbaugh
    XPost: talk.politics.guns

    In article <t0604n$28jco$11@news.freedyn.de>
    David Hartung <kicking.rudys.ass@Hotmail.com> wrote:

    Railroaders for Trump!

    With the two sides still unable to reach an agreement and with a
    freight rail strike looming, union officials and representatives
    of the railroads are heading to Washington, DC, on Wednesday
    where they will meet with Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, according
    officials with each union and a Department of Labor spokesperson.

    While the sources stressed that the situation remains fluid, the
    two main unions that have lingering disputes with the railroads
    – the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and SMART
    Transportation Division – are expected to send their union
    chiefs to the meeting.

    “Continuing the administration’s sustained engagement and hands-
    on efforts to encourage the parties to come to a mutually
    beneficial agreement, tomorrow morning Secretary Walsh will host
    the rail companies and the unions in Washington, DC at the
    Department of Labor,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

    The Wednesday meeting puts Walsh at the center of the high
    stakes effort to avert what would be a debilitating strike that
    could deal a major blow to the economy.

    CNN reported earlier Tuesday that the White House is urgently
    discussing contingency plans as the threat of a rail shut down
    looms, with agencies across the federal government working
    through how they could potentially use federal authority to keep
    critical supply chains operational as labor talks continue to
    sit at an impasse.

    The work has ramped up in recent days as officials have grown
    increasingly concerned about a labor strike if freight-rail
    labor negotiations fail to produce an agreement ahead of
    Friday’s deadline. And President Joe Biden personally called
    rail unions and companies on Monday while visiting Boston in an
    attempt to avert a rail shut down, White House press secretary
    Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.

    While officials have been closely watching the developments –
    and have gotten directly involved in an effort to find a
    resolution – for several weeks, accelerated efforts to plan for
    a worst case scenario underscore the stakes of an outcome that
    would lead to massive supply chain disruptions, and dual-pronged
    political and economic risk.

    “The White House is working with other modes of transportation
    (including shippers, truckers, air freight) to see how they can
    step in and keep goods moving, in case of a rail shutdown,” a
    White House official told CNN on Tuesday.

    The official added that the administration “has also been
    working with relevant agencies to assess what supply chains and
    commodities are most likely to face severe disruptions, and the
    emergency authorities available to keep goods moving.”

    About 60,000 union members who work for the railroad are set to
    go on strike, including the engineers and conductors who make up
    the two-person crews on each train. Even though 45,000 other
    union members belong to unions that have reached tentative deals
    with the railroads, a strike by engineers and conductors would
    bring the freight rail system, which carries nearly 30% of the
    nation’s freight, to a grinding halt.

    Stakeholders are already warning that the situation is dire, the
    US Chamber of Commerce detailing some of the urgent issues in a
    letter to congressional leadership on Monday.

    “A shutdown of the nation’s rail service would have enormous
    national consequences,” chamber executive vice president and
    chief policy officer Neil L. Bradley said in the letter.

    He continued, “It would lead to perishable foods such dairy,
    fruits, and vegetables spoiling at their points of origin, would
    halt Amtrak service for approximately 12.2 million daily riders
    in 46 states, would disrupt materials and goods being delivered
    to factories and ports, and would inhibit the transport of
    heating fuel and other important fuels and chemicals. These are
    only a few examples of the damage of a rail shutdown.”

    Biden continues to receive regular updates on the high-stakes
    negotiations, including briefings on the matter Monday evening
    and Tuesday morning.

    Senior-level engagements were expected to continue Tuesday.
    There are conversations with industry leaders and also “multiple
    interagency meetings” happening daily with the Departments of
    Transportation, Defense, Agriculture, Health and Human Services,
    and Energy, as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency,
    the official said, with efforts toward “identifying the sectors
    and the goods that will be most immediately and significantly
    impacted by a rail stoppage.”

    One area of key concern is hazardous materials carried by rail.

    “We are paying particular attention to hazardous materials
    carried by rail, to protect the safety of workers and
    communities and to support the continued distribution of vital
    hazardous materials that depend on rail transport, such as
    chlorine for water treatment plants,” said the official, who
    added that “all tools are on the table and will be deployed as

    While concern about a strike has heightened at the White House
    in recent days, the administration remains hopeful that the
    matter will be resolved. The President does not have the
    authority to head off a strike, but Congress can still act to
    prevent a work stoppage.

    “We hope this planning and preparation will prove unnecessary
    and that negotiating parties will agree to a resolution and not
    allow American workers, families, and businesses to be hurt by a
    rail stoppage. We have been clear in all our communications with
    the negotiating parties that a shutdown is unacceptable and will
    hurt American workers, families, and businesses, and they must
    take action to avert it,” the official said.

    This story and headline have been updated with additional
    details Tuesday.

    https://www.cnn.com/2022/09/13/politics/possible-rail-strike- white-house-contingencies/index.html

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