Negotiations to avert a potential railroad strike began earlier this year in June. President Biden signed railroad-related bi-partisan legislation on December 2 to impose the tentative national agreement negotiated by a Presidential Emergency Board in September. The legislation blocks a strike that could have major negative impacts on the U.S. economy.
In order for the strike to be prevented, the proposed five-year contract including wage increases and $5,000 in bonuses must be ratified by all 12 unions, which represents a total of 115,000 workers. Several unions rejected the labor deal and expressed concern about unaddressed issues such as paid sick time and working conditions.
In efforts to resolve the issue, the House of Representatives voted on a second resolution that would give railroad employees seven days of paid sick leave, however, the measure failed to pass the Senate.
A railroad strike of any kind would significantly impact the U.S. economy, especially the recycled materials industry. ITAD facilities like HOBI recycle precious metals and provide reusable material for manufacturers. A rail strike would disrupt the nation’s supply chain for materials and other goods.
Stakeholders like the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) have reached out to the president and Congress via letters explaining the negative impacts of a rail strike, and urging them to work with both parties to avoid such a crisis.
ISRI’s chief lobbyist, Billy Johnson said that, “The recycled materials industry supports a secure, sustainable supply chain. Recyclers provide a renewable source of sustainable materials for manufacturers. So, if the recycled materials industry slows down because the railroads slow down, then that will hurt the entire manufacturing supply chain not only within the U.S. but also around the world.”
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