(Mark Pellin, Headline USA) In the run-up to the midterm elections, President Joe Biden was reportedly more interested in partisan gains at the polls than in resolving a national rail strike that could wreak havoc on the country’s supply chains, the overall economy and transportation for hundreds of thousands of holiday travelers.
Earlier this year, the Biden administration bungled an attempt to avert a potential economic calamity by ignoring rail union concerns that were raised before the elections and are now once again threatening a strike that could shut down large parts of an already beleaguered economy.
Deals unsuccessfully brokered by the Biden administration and unions collapsed before an original strike deadline in September, but all parties agreed to continue negotiations before a new Dec. 3. Those talks have again been derailed, after union workers demanded additional paid sick time on top of substantial pay hikes.
A rail strike would have devastating economic impact, costing the U.S. economy upwards of $2 billion a day, according to the Association of American Railroads, which also reported that trains annually transport “1.7 billion tons of raw materials and finished goods” across the country.
The threat of a strike could have been settled before the midterm elections, union representatives claimed, if the Biden administration hadn’t put partisan political ambitions ahead of the national economy and American consumers.
“The union organizers are quoted in the media, at least, as blaming the secretary of transportation, who they say just wanted to get this beyond the elections and wasn’t listening to their concerns,” former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer told Fox News.
That would fall in line with other midterm machinations manipulated by the Biden administration, including trying to buy votes by illegally boosting a student loan forgiveness scheme, doling out thousands of federal pardons for “simple possession” of marijuana and launching multiple raids on the nation’s strategic petroleum reserve to keep gas prices lower before the elections.
The latest strike issues don’t center so much on pay, negotiations already include 24% raises and $5,000 in bonuses, but in sick leave and paid time-off for medical appointments. Critics contend those issues could have been resolved earlier, if the Biden administration had been more focused on resolving negotiations than in securing Democrat votes before the midterms.
“When a union is accusing a fellow Democrat of saying that they only did this to get it through the election,” Fleischer said, “we hear this on so many issues, on the strategic petroleum reserve, on student loans. There was such a focus on making bad decisions to get them through the election and to win votes.”
Fleischer laid blame directly on the White House.
“This is no way to govern. This is bad leadership,” he said. “I think that’s a recurrent theme in this Biden White House, and it’s interesting to note it’s now coming from one of the railroad labor union leaders.”