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Earlier this month, freight rail companies and unions representing tens of
thousands of workers struck a tentative deal to avoid a potentially
catastrophic strike. The deal was facilitated by the Biden administration,
reminiscent of President Biden’s long-standing advocacy for trade unions.

The deal was announced mere hours before workers would have been able
to begin striking, with rail service across the United States already
experiencing interruptions. As nearly a third of U.S. freight moves by rail,
had the strike commenced, the economic consequences would have been
severe: the Association of American Railroads estimated this would have
idled more than 7,000 trains daily and cost the economy more than $2
billion a day.

President Biden says the deal will benefit both companies and workers,
hailing the tentative agreement as “a win for tens of thousands of rail
workers who worked tirelessly through the pandemic.” While the agreement
included compromises from both sides, workers ultimately gained several
benefits they had been pursuing, including better pay and more flexible
schedules. One of the larger issues at hand, for instance, was the severity
of working conditions, some freight rail engineers and conductors facing
“on-call” schedules that had them working on very short notice, 24-hours-a-
day and seven-days-a-week.

“This agreement is validation — validation of what I’ve always believed,”
President Biden stated. “Unions and management can work together —
can work together for the benefit of everyone.”
However, while this potential strike was avoided due to intervention from
the Biden administration, uncertainty still remains as most unions are yet to
ratify the deal. While the ratification vote is tallied, workers have agreed not
to strike.

Thus, one can only hope that the deal will indeed be ratified, as the
hardworking Americans who power our rail industry deserve nothing less
than fair and just working conditions. We at Filippatos PLLC stand
wholeheartedly for the empowerment of workers, which we believe well-
functioning unions achieve. It is heartening to see the recent rise in labor unions across our country, with New Yorkers joining labor unions at ten
times the national average. The recent victory, for instance, of Staten
Island workers forming the nation’s first unionized Amazon warehouse, as
well as this rail deal brokered by the Biden administration, are indicative of
a broader trend across our nation of employees standing up for their rights
in the workplace. Indeed, we believe all workers have the right to safe,
equal and fair working conditions. Our mission at Filippatos PLLC is to
empower all employees, which is why we stand in firm support of workers
organizing to preserve and protect their inherent rights in the workplace.



Tankersley, Jim. 2022. “Railroad Unions and Companies Reach a Tentative Deal to Avoid a Strike.” The New York Times, September 15, 2022, sec. Business.
Collinson, Stephen. 2022. “Biden Claims Huge Win for Unions, and Himself, in Tentative Rail Deal | CNN Politics.” CNN. September 15, 2022.

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