Biden says rail deal with unions avoided ‘real economic crisis’


(Bloomberg) – President Joe Biden said the preliminary deal he helped forge between railroads and labor has prevented the U.S. economy from being devastated as it already struggles with high inflation and supply chain restrictions.

“If they had actually gone on strike, supply chains in this country would have come to a standstill. We would have seen a real economic crisis,” he said in an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes,” which airs Sunday.

Biden called the deal “fair to both sides.” His comments suggest he is confident that the insistent unions will ratify the deal, which would have been forged just hours before a strike would have shut down rail traffic across the country.

Union members have yet to vote to accept the deal and there is no guarantee they will. The White House said the preliminary agreement extends the “cooling off period” — during which unions are not allowed to strike — to ensure a rejection wouldn’t immediately cause a work stoppage.

On Wednesday, Biden personally intervened in the talks, highlighting the widespread economic damage that would result from a strike.

Union supporters and officials familiar with the president’s call to the negotiators said Biden’s involvement was crucial in bringing both sides to an agreement, with one saying it was unclear how negotiations would proceed at the time. that Biden called.

A work stoppage would have snapped supply chains and fueled red-hot inflation, while putting Democrats at greater risk of losing control of Congress in November’s midterm elections. Instead, the president comes up with a deal that could confirm his negotiating skills.

©2022 Bloomberg LP

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