What to Know in Washington: Railroads, Unions Reach Agreement
Railroads and unions representing more than 100,000 workers reached a tentative deal, the government said, a breakthrough that looks to avert a labor disruption that risked adding supply-chain strains to the world’s largest economy.
After 20 straight hours of talks, the companies and union negotiators reached a preliminary agreement balancing the needs of workers, businesses and the economy, according to a Labor Department statement early Thursday.
It was a “hard-fought, mutually beneficial deal,” the emailed statement said. “Our rail system is integral to our supply chain, and a disruption would have had catastrophic impacts on industries, travelers and families across the country.”
In early trading, shares of major freight railroads rose, with CSX gaining 2.1%, Norfolk Southern up 1.5% and Union Pacific advancing 4.7%.
The deal extends the so-called cooling off period, during which the two sides have been negotiating, until union members can ratify it, an administration official said.
Aside from the disruption to key freight from corn to cars, the prospect of a strike put President Joe Biden in a political bind: push explicitly for a deal and risk undermining his pro-union campaign promises, or side with labor during a strike and risk getting blamed for hurting an economy beset with soaring inflation and supply-chain snarls.
Biden weighed in late Wednesday night as the negotiations were ongoing, stressing during a call with negotiators the importance of avoiding harm to families, farmers and businesses, a White House official said. Read the latest from Ryan Beene, Rebecca Rainey and Josh Wingrove.
Happening on the Hill
- The Senate meets to consider a judicial nomination as well as the nomination for TSA administrator.
- The House meets to consider legislation on federal worker protections, federal whistleblowers and the US Census.
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Elections & Politics
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Campaigns Could Pay for Lawmakers’ Cybersecurity Under FEC Draft
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Increased threats have prompted the FEC to expand lawmakers’ permissible uses of campaign money several times in recent years, including for cybersecurity, home alarm systems and even bodyguards. Warren’s lawyers have pointed to testimony from national security officials that personal Gmail accounts of senators and other officials have been targeted by hackers, including agents of foreign governments. If approved, the terms of the FEC ruling would apply to all lawmakers.
Around the Administration
- Biden at 3:30 p.m. is scheduled to deliver a speech at the United We Stand Summit.
- At 8:25 p.m., Biden is to attend the 45th Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Gala.
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Justice Department Creates Covid-19 Fraud Strike Force Teams
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