Railway strike averted, Biden praised | TheFencePost.com

Railway strike averted, Biden praised

A railway strike that could have interfered with both the shipment of harvested crops and fertilizer for next year’s crops has been averted through a tentative agreement between railway workers and railroad companies.

President Biden announced the tentative agreement on Thursday morning.

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh told CNN, “Failure wasn’t an option here.”

Biden said in a statement early Thursday, “The tentative agreement reached tonight is an important win for our economy and the American people.”

“It is a win for tens of thousands of rail workers who worked tirelessly through the pandemic to ensure that America’s families and communities got deliveries of what have kept us going during these difficult years,” Biden said.

“These rail workers will get better pay, improved working conditions, and peace of mind around their health care costs: all hard-earned. The agreement is also a victory for railway companies who will be able to retain and recruit more workers for an industry that will continue to be part of the backbone of the American economy for decades to come.

“I thank the unions and rail companies for negotiating in good faith and reaching a tentative agreement that will keep our critical rail system working and avoid disruption of our economy.”

Biden also thanked Walsh, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and National Economic Council Director Brian Deese for reaching the agreement.

Brooke Appleton, the vice president of public policy at the National Corn Growers Association, said, “We are thankful that the White House has announced a tentative agreement between rail carriers and union leaders and applaud the efforts from all parties to avoid this crisis.It is critical to farmers, who are approaching harvest season, that rail service remain fully functional and reliable.”

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said, “Farmers and biofuel producers across the country are very encouraged by news that this agreement will avert a potentially devastating rail shutdown.”

“We appreciate the work of all parties involved in keeping trains and commodities moving across the country. Nearly 70% of U.S. ethanol production is moved by rail — more than 400,000 carloads annually — and no one wants to see American motorists cut off from a vital supply of lower-cost, lower-carbon fuels.”

Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper said, “We are greatly encouraged to hear that a tentative agreement has been reached, and we are hopeful that a deal will be officially finalized as soon as possible. “

“This agreement means the ethanol industry — and the entire U.S. economy — have dodged a lethal bullet. A strike-related stoppage of rail service would have been catastrophic for the ethanol industry, as more than 70% of the renewable fuel we produce is shipped by rail.

“The industry also relies heavily on rail for inbound corn shipments and outbound shipments of animal feed co-products. Our nation’s ethanol biorefineries depend on safe, efficient and timely service to keep their products flowing across the country and to ports for shipment around the world. We are grateful to the Biden administration, members of Congress, the rail industry and the labor unions for working together to avert a major disaster.”

Mike Steenhoek, executive director ot the Soy Transportation Coalition, said, “The tentative agreement will provide rail employees at 24% wage increase during the five year period of the contract (2020-2024) — consistent with the recommendations of the Presidential Emergency Board. An immediate average payout of $11,000 will be provided upon ratification.”

“We are extremely pleased both sides were able to arrive at an agreement. Our nation’s railroads are integral to the success of the American farmer. Without cost-effective, reliable rail service, so much of what farmers produce will never connect with our domestic and international customers.

“American farmers are responding to the challenges of global food insecurity. We need our nation’s railroads to be a reliable partner in this effort. A strike, lockout, or significant slowdown would have imposed significant harm on agriculture — particularly on the eve of harvest. The tentative agreement allows farmers and U.S. agriculture to proceed with doing what they do best — being the highest quality, most reliable provider of food to the world.”


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