Rail worker strike avoided

The move avoids a supply chain dagger that would have cost the U.S. economy as much as $2 billion per day.
Freight Train B
Four rail unions had planned to strike on Dec. 9.

The U.S. Senate has approved a House-passed resolution (H.J.Res.100) that forces rail labor unions to accept a contract that was previously negotiated with railroad companies in September.

The move averts a national rail worker strike that was threatening to shut down America’s freight railroads on Dec. 9. 

The Senate overwhelmingly approved the measure by a vote of 80-15, while the House passed it yesterday by a vote of 290-137. 

President Biden is expected to sign the joint resolution into law tonight.

Congressional leaders rushed to pass the legislation after Biden publicly called on lawmakers to intervene on Monday. President Biden’s announcement came after the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA)  sent a letter to the White House urging the Administration to resolve the rail worker contract dispute. 

Prior to the legislation being approved by Congress, four unions had agreed to strike on Dec. 9. The move would have cost the U.S. economy as much as $2 billion per day while making supply chain issues even more problematic.

NLBMDA was specifically was highlighted by the National Public Radio last week for sending that letter and pressuring the White House to act.

Earlier this week, NLBMDA sent a letter to House and Senate leadership urging immediate floor action to prevent any disruptions to rail service as the threat of a strike loomed. Under the Railway Labor Act of 1926, Congress has authority to intervene in failed rail labor negotiations as a critical safeguard to protect the U.S. economy from massive disruptions.

A railroad strike would have been catastrophic for the U.S. economy and risked long-term damage to the national supply chain, the NLBMDA said.


NLBMDA has actively lobbied lawmakers and their staff in Washington to prevent a railroad shutdown since this summer and applauds Congress and the White House for taking necessary action to shield small businesses from devastating economic consequences. 

Threats of a nationwide rail worker strike dramatically increased in recent days after the largest rail labor union, SMART-TD, voted to reject a tentative agreement with U.S. rail carriers.

The agreement that was negotiated in good faith in September includes a 24% pay raise for rail workers by 2024, with annual $1,000 bonuses and no increases to health care costs.

While eight labor unions voted to ratify this agreement, four unions held out for more concessions from railroads on paid sick leave.


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