President Joe Biden on Friday signed into law a bill that prevents a U.S. railroad strike by imposing a deal on freight-rail workers, even as four of their 12 unions opposed it.
“The bill I’m about to sign ends a difficult rail dispute and helps our nation avoid what without a doubt would have been an economic catastrophe at a very bad time on the calendar,” Biden said in a brief speech at the White House, referring to how officials wanted to avoid supply-chain disruptions ahead of the holidays.
Top Democrats said they didn’t like going against the ability of unions to strike, but it was more important to avoid a rail shutdown that would cause widespread economic pain.
“I know this bill doesn’t have paid sick leave that these rail workers and frankly every worker in America deserves, but that fight isn’t over,” Biden also said, referring to a failed effort to require rail companies to provide employees with seven days of paid sick leave per year.
The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted 80-15 in favor of the bill that Biden signed Friday, after the House of Representatives approved it Wednesday by a vote of 290-137.
Railroad operators’ stocks finished with gains Tuesday as traders reacted to Washington’s moves to prevent a strike, but Norfolk Southern Corp.
and Union Pacific Corp.
all lost ground Friday as the broad market
fell in the wake of a stronger-than-expected jobs report that raised fresh concerns about inflation.