President Biden cannot afford to have yet another mistake happen within the infrastructure while he is in office. The nation is just beginning to start recovery efforts from the failure that transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg forced on the U.S. when he couldn’t get the ports adequately staffed and running. This shortage of getting ships and unloaded goods onto shelves cost the U.S. an enormous amount of money and incredible grief for Americans coast to coast.
As it sits now, the railway workers and two unions have been in talks to get better vacation and sick days in their new contract. With a September 16th deadline for a deal to be struck, walking off the job is being talked about, and would cause utter chaos to the American infrastructure and economy. In response, the White House and rail officials have been in emergency talks about getting things resolved immediately.
Naturally, these talks aren’t about what’s best for the rail workers. It’s not even about saving the infrastructure for the American people and keeping them well supplied. Instead, the root of this is trying to avoid any potential damage to the Democrat’s momentum going into the midterm elections. Considering the level of damage they have been taking since Biden took office, it would seem that this is simply a step to avoid being utterly destroyed.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Suzanne Clark provided a statement on September 12th about a situation she claims could have “catastrophic economic impacts.”
“A national rail strike would be an economic disaster – freezing the flow of goods, emptying shelves, shuttering workplaces, and raising prices for families and businesses alike, but that is exactly what is likely to happen in less than four days. If action is not taken, the nation’s rail service will come to a halt, the negative impacts of which cannot be understated.”
This isn’t fear-mongering, rather this is telling the American people more about our reliance on the rail system, which is yet another area where the transportation secretary has refused to provide solid improvements for.
In a letter from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to Congressional leadership, Neil Bradley, the Chamber’s executive vice president, told Congress that this strike could cost the U.S. economy $2 billion per day. This would mean massive price hikes and shortages for U.S. consumers everywhere. The letter also outlined how this strike could allow goods to rot where they come in, deliveries of critical equipment could become delayed, and people riding rails like on Amtrack could face severe delays.
This kind of stoppage is unacceptable, and until the unions are ready to see the conservative side of union work, it means the American people will end up suffering. Ultimately, the damage to the U.S. economy and the lives of everyday Americans is too great to be allowing for this to happen. Instead, the rails need to be kept open, and the union needs to come to its senses.
A few extra sick days and vacation days are not much to ask for.
Considering how long these hard-working men and women are out riding the rail from coast to coast, they must get the downtime they are already earning. It’s not easy being away for 2-5 weeks at a time, home for 4 days, then back out on the rail. It’s also a physically demanding job, with many being left with debilitating injuries to their back, knees, and neck, not to mention hearing damage. Giving them the downtime would save mountains in medical bills down the line.