A tentative agreement was reached by the White House on Thursday to prevent a nationwide rail strike, with freight employees securing a key demand.
The deal between two sizable unions, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and SMART Transportation Division, and major freight rail operators underlines the labor movement’s expanding influence under a government that has positioned itself as a steadfast supporter of labor. Business organizations who had previously cautioned a stoppage would result in severe economic damage breathed a collective sigh of relief at their tentative agreement.
After what he described as 20 hours of marathon negotiations ahead of an approaching Friday deadline, President Joe Biden said Thursday at the White House, praising the negotiators representing the unions and the rail carriers.
The agreement provides some political comfort for the president and other Democrats after worrying that the financial effects of a strike could worsen the situation for families already struggling under persistently rising inflation.