Strike averted with US railroad deal

Major US railroads and unions have reached an interim agreement on better wages and conditions for workers, US President Joe Biden said, potentially averting a countrywide rail closure that could impact food and fuel supplies.

A shutdown could freeze nearly 30% of U.S. cargo shipments by weight, fuel inflation, cost the U.S. economy up to $ 2 billion a day, and trigger a cascade of transportation problems affecting U.S. sectors. of the world. energy, agriculture, manufacturing and retail.

Biden administration officials held employment contract talks overnight Wednesday in an effort to reach a deal with unions representing 115,000 workers.

Failure to reach an agreement within one minute after midnight on Friday would have paved the way for legal strikes by workers.

“This is a victory for tens of thousands of railroad workers who worked tirelessly during the pandemic to ensure that American families and communities received deliveries of what got us through these difficult years,” he said. Biden said.

Negotiations between railways including Union Pacific, Berkshire Hathaway’s BNSF, CSX, Norfolk Southern and Kansas City Southern and a dozen unions lasted more than two years, leading Biden to appoint an emergency council to help break the deadlock.

Shares of US rail operators rose 2.4-2.9% at the start of trading.

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