The renewed threat of a railroad strike has businesses worried and looking for help from the White House and Congress.
This comes after two unions rejected the tentative deal that was reached in September.
A coalition involving 322 business groups from a variety of industries signed off on a letter to President Biden Thursday urging him to make sure the deals he helped broker, get approved because a railroad strike would have dire consequences for the economy.
All 12 rail unions must approve their agreements to prevent a strike next month.
"It is paramount that these contracts now be ratified, as a rail shutdown would have a significant impact on the U.S. economy and lead to further inflationary pressure," wrote the group.
It is not known if Biden plans to step in. He has been watching the contract dispute closely and appointed a special board of arbitrators this summer to try to help resolve it.
The railroads have offered 24% raises and $5,000 in bonuses in the five-year deal, which would be the biggest increases in more than four decades, but it has been quality-of-life issues that have been the focus of negotiations.
Members of the union representing the conductors and engineers want the railroads to ease the punishing schedules that they say keep them on call 24-7, and the other unions want the railroads to add paid sick time.
|NSC||NORFOLK SOUTHERN CORP.||196.93||-0.45||-0.23%|
|UNP||UNION PACIFIC CORP.||203.63||-0.48||-0.24%|
A strike isn’t imminent because the two unions that voted down their deals agreed to retry negotiations before considering a walkout, but the railroads face a Nov. 19 deadline with one of those unions.
Six smaller unions have approved their deals while four others are set to vote over the next month.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.