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Pelosi Statement on Legislation to Avert National Rail Strike

San Francisco — Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement announcing that the House will proceed with legislation to adopt the Tentative Agreement reached between unions and railroads in September to avert a national rail strike:

“This week, the House will consider legislation adopting the Tentative Agreement reached in September after months of hard-fought negotiations.  The historic Tentative Agreement that railroads and railroad workers reached has secured important advances for workers, including a 24 percent raise, no changes in copays, deductibles or coinsurance costs, some time off for routine, preventative and emergency medical care and protecting the two-man crew.  At the same time, Democrats are continuing to fight for more of railroad workers’ priorities, including paid sick leave. 

“Our proudly pro-union President Joe Biden and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh are to be commended for their determination to get a fair deal for our workers, honoring this truth: America’s middle class has a union label on it.  Labor leaders are also to be recognized for their leadership in ensuring that workers’ voices were heard.

“As we consider Congressional action, we must recognize that railroads have been selling out to Wall Street to boost their bottom lines, making obscene profits while demanding more and more from railroad workers.  We are reluctant to bypass the standard ratification process for the Tentative Agreement — but we must act to prevent a catastrophic nationwide rail strike, which would grind our economy to a halt.  Our entire nation would suffer: more than 750,000 workers, including many union members, would lose their jobs in just the first two weeks.  Millions of families wouldn’t be able to get groceries, medications and other goods, and our economy would be paralyzed as it continues to recover.  Under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, Congress has both the authority and the responsibility to prevent this outcome and ensure the uninterrupted operation of critical transportation services.

“This week, the House will take up a bill adopting the Tentative Agreement – with no poison pills or changes to the negotiated terms – and send it to the Senate.  It is my hope that this necessary, strike-averting legislation will earn a strongly bipartisan vote, giving America’s families confidence in our commitment to protecting their financial futures.”

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