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Biden Asks Congress to Avert Rail Strike

Specialty Food Association

President Joe Biden called on Congress to block a rail strike after last week’s rejection of a five-year contract related to workers’ benefits and compensation brokered by the Biden administration, and two rail unions, reports Progressive Grocer.

“It’s not an easy call, but I think we have to do it. The economy is at risk,” President Biden said when telling Congress to prevent the strike before the original December 9 agreement deadline. He led a meeting on Tuesday to discuss whether to order rail workers to return to their job.

Representatives from the retail industry expressed their concern about a potential rail shutdown.

The freight rail system is an integral part of America’s transportation system, moving cargo to communities in every corner of the country every day. Millions of Americans depend on smooth and stable rail operations to safely transport consumer goods, food, and other essential items,” said National Retail Federation CEO Matthew Shay. “A rail strike, coupled with historically high levels of inflation, could wreak financial havoc and inflict catastrophic harm to American businesses, workers, consumers, and the U.S. economy.”

The Consumer Brands Association also called for Congress to act.

“The companies that manufacture and distribute everyday items like peanut butter, cooking oil, breakfast cereal, soap, canned vegetables, and household cleaners utilize rail to transport high concentrations of both raw input ingredients and finished products,” said Tom Madrecki, the association’s VP of supply chain and logistics.

A vote in Congress is expected to take place today to determine whether it will in fact order workers back. Full Story

Related: Rail Unions May Strike; Kroger, Albertsons CEOs Face Congressional Questioning