Railroad strike looms as largest freight union rejects Biden-brokered deal
BALTIMORE – A tense standoff between President Trump and state labor officials began at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday when the leaders of the powerful rail workers union and Republican lawmakers met for their annual retreat, where they plan to discuss legislation aimed at reining in a $8 billion transportation subsidy.
The strike notice appeared to be the culmination of months of back-and-forth between the White House and Washington, D.C., over the rail workers union and railroad workers, which has been in labor law disputes with its freight-rail and air carriers for more than a year.
Trump, on Twitter, urged the president of the United States to come to the meeting “and do what’s best for the great railroad workers of the United States.” His administration, however, sent in a lawyer to negotiate the deal Trump was reportedly seeking.
“It’s kind of embarrassing for all of us when railroads are making a fortune on the back of a strong American railroad worker,” said Dan Eichten, federal counsel and general counsel for the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE). “We’d like to see that change. We’re happy with those agreements moving forward. There’s nothing going on out there that we can do.”
The strike will come as the nation’s largest union is facing a legal challenge that could block its merger with SEIU Local 100. The National Labor Relations Board has said it will hear the merger’s validity on September 15.
In the meantime, the two sides are working to figure out how to end the talks without a strike.
The rail workers’ union, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees (BMWE), called for a strike Thursday morning after negotiating with the carriers that operate the nation’s railroads.
A statement issued by the union read:
“The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), along with the rail industry, are currently