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Biden voted against ending 1992 railroad strike but wants Congress to act to avoid one now

Biden said in 1992 he was "not convinced" that Congress should "act to reward the actions of the railroad companies at this time."

Published: November 29, 2022 5:36pm

Updated: November 29, 2022 11:05pm

While President Biden is now prodding Congress to take action to avoid a national railroad strike, he was one of six U.S. senators who voted against ending the railroad strike in 1992.

"It is a difficult decision to oppose this legislation," then-Sen. Biden said in June 1992. "I am concerned about the serious effects of a continued shutdown of our nation's rail system on hundreds of companies in Delaware and across the country. But I am also concerned that we are rewarding a concerted decision of the railroads that would have caused fevered expressions of outrage by industry had the unions taken a similar step."

Biden said at the time that he was "not convinced" that Congress should "act to reward the actions of the railroad companies at this time."

The purpose of the 1992 resolution was "to provide for a settlement of the railroad labor-management disputes between certain railroads" and their employees. The resolution passed the Senate 87-6.

Biden is currently calling for congressional action to avoid a railroad strike. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will take a floor vote on the legislation on Wednesday. She said the bill would reflect the "tentative agreement" from September, which involved the U.S. Labor Department.  

Four of the labor unions that were part of the negotiations in recent weeks have rejected the September deal.

"As a proud pro-labor President, I am reluctant to override the ratification procedures and the views of those who voted against the agreement," Biden said on Monday. "But in this case — where the economic impact of a shutdown would hurt millions of other working people and families — I believe Congress must use its powers to adopt this deal.
"Some in Congress want to modify the deal to either improve it for labor or for management. However well-intentioned, any changes would risk delay and a debilitating shutdown. The agreement was reached in good faith by both sides." 

Biden told reporters on Tuesday that he was "confident" Congress would be able to pass legislation to avoid a strike.

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