After President Biden took a victory lap in averting a looming railroad worker strike that could have cost the U.S. economy $2 billion per day, one workers’ rights executive is putting the onus on the president for causing the conflict to begin with.
"What you can blame is the Biden administration, because they're the ones that have one, created vaccine mandates which these railroad workers were covered by, they had to get vaccinated in order to keep their jobs," Freedom Foundation CEO Aaron Withe told FOX Business’ Cheryl Casone on Friday.
"And then on top of that," Withe continued, "Biden's printing out money like it's going out of fashion and basically incentivizing people not to work."
The Biden administration reached a labor agreement with railroad companies and unions Thursday after 20 hours of intense negotiations. If a deal wasn’t struck by Friday, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) said that a rail shutdown would cost the economy upwards of $2 billion a day, warning in a press release that a strike would "immediately harm every economic sector by rail" and "trigger retail product shortages, widespread manufacturing shutdowns" and "job losses."
On "Mornings with Maria," Withe argued railroad worker shortages have been caused by the Biden administration’s actions.
"I'm usually the first to bash on unions, but in this instance you really can't. The unions were representing the best interests of its members," Withe noted. "They were having poor working conditions due to Biden's economy and other decisions he'd made, including long work hours, including not being able to travel so far from their office areas if they were on-call."
Anticipating the labor strike, Amtrak had suspended several long-distance train routes, arguing there wouldn’t be enough time for them to reach their destinations before a strike or lockout would be allowed to begin at 12:01 a.m. Friday. But following the agreement, the company announced it would be running on a full schedule Friday.
Withe said the looming strike’s economic and consumer impacts would have been "disastrous."
"On top of Amtrak being canceled, people rely on that, of course, to get to and from places, but you think about what we use the railroads for, a lot of the U.S. major economy uses these railroads, a lot of the international economy uses it as well. We export a lot of oil to Mexico through the railroads," Withe explained. "If they would not have been able to agree to these deals, then it would have been disastrous for all of us."
"And Biden," Withe added, "he dodged a bullet here because this would have been on him. Ultimately, the fault is the Biden administration's."
Withe further called out the president for his green energy agenda and college loan handout, arguing Biden’s economy leaves blue-collar workers behind.
"Biden's idea of the economy is basically to incentivize liberal elites while leaving the blue-collar worker behind," the CEO said. "You think about the railroad workers, I can't imagine that many of them went to college or got college degrees… it’s a big hurdle, what [the Biden admin’s] asking for."
FOX Business’ Breck Dumas and Daniella Genovese contributed to this report.