President Biden signed legislation that prevents railroad workers from going on strike, just in time for the December 9 deadline that would have halted many key economic value chains. The signature comes after the House and Senate both passed the legislation in a bipartisan fashion, though a resolution was dropped in the Senate that would have guaranteed the workers at least seven paid sick days; however, President Biden said the fight for paid sick leave isn’t over.
Ag groups have come out in support of the legislation over concerns about already high diesel prices and low water levels that have slowed or halted transportation on the Mississippi River. The strike threat came after more than two years of intense negotiations on a labor deal that four of the largest U.S. unions have voted to reject.
The federal action to cease the threat marks a total of 18 times since the 1920s when Congress has acted to avoid national strikes that would have hindered interstate commerce. The most recent time was in 1992, after rail workers had already shut down rail lines for two days.
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