On Monday, President Joe Biden’s tentative railroad union agreement fell apart after a freight rail workers union rejected it, raising fears of a strike.
The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division of the Teamsters rejected the agreement because management refused to provide paid time off for illness or family emergencies.
In a statement, Tony D. Cardwell, the union’s president, said “Railroaders are discouraged and upset with working conditions and compensation and hold their employer in low regard. Railroaders do not feel valued,” Union President Tony D. Cardwell said in a statement.
“Railroaders do not feel valued. They resent the fact that management holds no regard for their quality of life, illustrated by their stubborn reluctance to provide a higher quantity of paid time off, especially for sickness,” he continued.
Cardwell stated that the union would continue bargaining with the railroads until five days after Congress reconvened on November 14.
Biden boasted of his success as a dealmaker when he brokered a tentative agreement with unions and railroads in September.
“Today is a win — and I mean it sincerely — a win for America,” the president said on September 15 in a speech at the Rose Garden.
“This agreement is validation — validation of what I’ve always believed: Unions and management can work together for the benefit of everyone,” he went on to say.
However, the union’s rejection of the agreement sets Biden back and raises the prospect of a national rail shutdown, which would cripple the economy just before the Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays.