House will vote on bill to avoid railroad strike

Should Congress fail to act, a potential rail strike could have significant adverse effects on the U.S. economy.

Updated: November 28, 2022 - 9:49pm

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The House of Representatives will soon hold a vote on legislation to avert a major railroad strike by implementing a deal between railroads and their unions, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Monday.

The lower chamber will vote on legislation the Biden administration has endorsed, but the legislation is structured to require the unions to accept the agreement which several of them have already rejected, the Washington Examiner reported.

"The deal provides a historic 24% pay raise for rail workers," read a statement from the president. "It provides improved health care benefits. And it provides the ability of operating craft workers to take unscheduled leave for medical needs."

Last week, members of the nation's largest rail union rejected the agreement, setting the stage for a strike as all 12 of the nation's rail unions need to agree to a deal to avoid a strike. Should one refuse the terms, the other 11 will not cross a picket line.

Congress holds the power to force the unions to accept the terms of the agreement under the Railway Labor Act of 1926, the Examiner noted. Pelosi said the lower chamber would vote on the existing plan and make no changes to it. The Senate would then need to pass the measure to avert a strike.

Should Congress fail to act, a potential rail strike could have significant adverse effects on the U.S. economy. New York City, for example, uses the railways to transport the 2.4 million pounds of human excrement residents produce daily to landfills across the country. Should the trains stop running, the city would be unable to cope with the buildup of human feces, a situation that would likely cause a sanitary catastrophe.

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