Ever heard that song by Queen and David Bowie called “Under Pressure?” That’s probably on repeat right now at the White Houses as the Biden administration continues to scramble around looking for some kind of solution with just a few days to go before a rail strike could begin, which would deliver yet another massive blow to the economy. Yes, the White House is now facing some serious pressure on several different fronts as it continues to mull over the potential political consequences of a shutdown.
Fox News Business recently said in its report on the looming strike that it could come as early as midnight on Friday if there isn’t some kind of deal reached ahead of that time between the major rail companies and the four unions that, as of this writing, have not agreed to a current proposal that was pitched by the presidential emergency board, an agency put together by the president.
“Labor Secretary Marty Walsh is now involved in the talks, and President Biden himself has reached out to parties involved. But if negotiations are not successful by the deadline, a strike or lockout could be triggered. According to the Association of American Railroads (AAR), a shutdown would be absolutely devastating, costing upward of $2 billion per day and kneecapping an already fragile supply chain while hurting businesses and consumers alike,” the report said.
To make matters worse, other modes of transportation are not able to keep up the pace. The AAR has stated that it would take close to 467,000 long-haul trucks to ease up the tension and pick up the slack left behind in the wake of the rail strike. I don’t think I need to tell you that is probably not something that is going to happen as there’s currently a shortage of 80,000 truckers in the country right now.
Fox News then said, “With high stakes, Congress is expected to get involved if a strike is triggered. But that introduces further complications. Whether a strike occurs or not, the timing of the impasse could hurt the administration and Democrats as a whole, putting vulnerable lawmakers in a tough spot ahead of the upcoming midterm elections in November.”
Senior transportation policy analyst Marc Scribner, who works at the Reason Foundation, explained the timing of this possible strike was coordinated might not do much to help the administration.
“That this might occur right before the midterm elections is entirely self-inflicted by the Biden administration, where two of President Biden’s National Mediation Board [NMB] members took the bizarre step in June of terminating board-guided mediation two months early and starting the 90-day countdown to a possible rail strike,” Scribner said during a talk with FOX Business, referring to the move as “unprecedented.”
Scribner then revealed that if the NMB had stayed with the original schedule, the cooling off period would have come to an end in the middle of November. But rather than do that, the board chose to cut things short.
“‘This was clearly designed to force a flash right before the midterm elections,’ Scribner argues, that the administration knows it could rely on a Congress with unified Democratic control. He added, ‘But I don’t think they thought it through all that well because that puts a lot of pressure on Democrats facing tough races,’” the report noted.
However, Scribner stated that the mood on Capitol Hill is very negative when it comes to taking such action because, naturally, it puts politicians into the cross hairs, especially since there are two major rail unions who have told Congress not to stick their nose in things.
“”This was clearly designed to force a flash right before the midterm elections,” Scribner argues, speculating that the administration knows it could rely on a Congress with unified Democratic control. He added, “But I don’t think they thought it through all that well because that puts a lot of pressure on Democrats facing tough races,’” the report said.
“The leaders of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) Transportation Division and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) Teamsters Rail Conference issued a joint statement over the weekend saying that they would not agree to the PEB’s proposal because it does not include improvements to working conditions, declaring that the panel’s ‘recommendation got it wrong on this issue,’” Fox News said.
“It’s time for the federal government to tell the CEOs who are running the nation’s railroads into the ground that enough is enough,” the union leaders went on to say. “Congress should stay out of the rail dispute and tell the railroads to do what other business leaders do — sit down and bargain a contract that your employees will accept.”
This is definitely not going to be helping the Democratic Party if it happens. If we add another economic disaster on top of the pile that are still fresh, on fire, and burning, well, I think you see the writing on the wall.