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This is Republicans supporting the President’s position and only asking 12 Democrats to support this action. I ask my colleagues, drop this concern that you’re representing one side or other. Ask yourself what’s best for America.” (US Senator Burr of North Carolina, 14 Sept. 2022)

A tentative agreement was reached this morning, but must still be voted on by the unions. It’s still worth reading the speeches to understand what is at stake: https://web.archive.org/web/20220915135740/https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/news/rail-strike-averted-after-white-house-brokers-e2-80-98tentative-e2-80-99-deal-e2-80-94here-e2-80-99s-what-you-need-to-know/ar-AA11QHjN

For those who don’t want to listen to the video, the transcript is below in caps. The speeches are very short and good: https://youtu.be/vwCIx88NcoQ

Burr, Wicker Call on Senate to Immediately Pass Resolution Preventing Disastrous Rail Worker Strike September 14, 2022
Today, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, took to the Senate floor to call on Congress to immediately pass their resolution to prevent a disastrous rail worker strike in a matter of days. 

The resolution would adopt the comprehensive recommendations made by President Biden’s appointees to the Presidential Emergency Board (PEB), if no voluntary agreement can be reached prior to 12:01 AM ET Friday, September 16, when a mandated cooling off period ends. The PEB recommendations include significant wage rate increases for workers retroactive to 2020. 

Without an agreement, America faces a potential rail worker strike as early as September 16th, which would cost an estimated $2 billion a day. Rail carriers have already begun to curtail shipments of certain materials and passenger routes in preparation for a potential strike”https://www.burr.senate.gov/2022/9/burr-wicker-call-on-senate-to-immediately-pass-resolution-preventing-disastrous-rail-worker-strike

More on the Potential Rail Strike – Railroad Owners, Workers, and Unions

President Emergency Board Report and Recommendations: https://nmb.gov/NMB_Application/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/PEB-250-Report-and-Recommendations.pdf Page 30 does describe the outrageous increase in profits made by the carriers and stocks, as well as huge executive compensation. The carriers should lower their prices, thus helping all Americans. If they reduce prices, then it would surely help reduce cost of food, etc., for Americans.

Transcript of US Senators Wicker and Burr speeches from C-Span: https://youtu.be/vwCIx88NcoQ
US SENATOR WICKER

MR. PRESIDENT, I SEEK RECOGNITION TO SPEAK ON THE SAME MATTER THAT SENATOR BURR HAS RAISED AND WILL RAISE ON THE UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUEST.

THINK OF THE ECONOMY RIGHT NOW, MR. PRESIDENT. INFLATION IS AT 8.3% OR HIGHER.

OUR GDP IS SHRINKING AND SUPPLY CHAINS HAVE NOT RECOVERED FROM THE PANDEMIC.

THE LAST THING WE NEED IS A SHUTDOWN OF THIS NATION’S RAIL SERVICE, BOTH PASSENGER AND FREIGHT. AND YET, THAT IS WHAT WE ARE FACING IN LESS THAN A DAY AND A HALF FROM THIS MOMENT – A MASSIVE RAIL STRIKE THAT WILL VIRTUALLY SHUT DOWN OUR ECONOMY.

NOW, THIS DIDN’T HAVE TO HAPPEN, BUT I’LL TELL YOU, IT’S BEEN GOING ON SINCE 2019. SO WE’RE IN OUR THIRD YEAR OF THIS MATTER. THERE’S BEEN NEGOTIATION AMONG THE RAILS, SOME 37 COMPANIES, INCLUDING SEVEN MAJOR FREIGHT CARRIERS, AND 12 UNIONS.

THEY REACHED AN IMPASSE, AND SO PURSUANT TO STATUTE THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN, APPOINTED A PEB, A PRESIDENTIAL EMERGENCY BOARD, TO HELP RESOLVE THIS ISSUE. AND THEY BROUGHT THE PARTIES TOGETHER AND HAVE WORKED WITH THE SUGGESTIONS FROM BOTH SIDES, BOTH LABOR AND MANAGEMENT, AND COME UP WITH THEIR RECOMMENDATION, WHICH THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES HAS ENDORSED IN FULL.

AND WE ARE NOW AT THE POINT WHERE WE’RE ASKING BOTH LABOR AND MANAGEMENT TO AGREE TO THIS RECOMMENDATION OF THE PEB. 100% OF MANAGEMENT HAS AGREED TO THIS RECOMMENDATION OF THE BIDEN-APPOINTED PRESIDENTIAL EMERGENCY BOARD. OF THE 12 UNIONS, EIGHT OF THE UNIONS HAVE AGREED. SO WE HAVE AN OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF THE UNIONS AGREEING TO THIS, 100% OF MANAGEMENT AGREEING TO IT, BUT UNDER THE LAW THAT CONGRESS IN ITS WISDOM PASSED YEARS AND YEARS AGO WE HAVE TO HAVE 100% OF THE 12 UNIONS, AND THERE ARE FOUR HOLDOUTS AT THIS POINT.

PURSUANT TO THE STATUTE, WHEN WE GET TO A SITUATION LIKE THIS, CONGRESS CAN STEP IN, AND THAT IS WHAT MY FRIEND IS GOING TO ASK US TO DO IN JUST A FEW MINUTES. THE CONGRESS CAN PASS THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE PEB IN FULL, THE SENATE CAN PASS IT, SEND IT OVER TO THE HOUSE, SEND IT TO THE PRESIDENT, WHO HAS ENDORSED THE RECOMMENDATION IN FULL, AND WE CAN AVOID THIS STRIKE. AND THAT’S WHAT WE OUGHT TO BE DOING. SO I WANT TO COMMEND MY FRIEND FROM NORTH CAROLINA FOR HIS LEADERSHIP IN THIS CASE.

IF THE TRAINS STOP RUNNING, OUR ECONOMY GRINDS TO A HALT, AND THAT IS THE VERY REASON THIS LAW IS IN PLACE, AND IT’S THE VERY REASON WHY IT IS INCUMBENT ON US AS SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES TO PASS A STATUTE — TO PASS A RESOLUTION IMPLEMENTING THE PEB. AND I YIELD TO MY FRIEND”.

US SENATOR BURR OF NORTH CAROLINA:
MR. PRESIDENT, THERE ARE GOING TO BE SOME THAT SAY THIS IS UNPRECEDENTED BY THE CONGRESS. IN FACT, UNDER THE RAIL LABOR ACT, CONGRESS IS ALLOWED TO INTERVENE. IN FACT, CONGRESS HAS INTERVENED 18 TIMES IN THE PAST IMPOSING PEB RECOMMENDATIONS IN WHOLE OR IN PART FOUR TIMES. IF WE DON’T DO IT, IF WE DO NOT FORCE THIS ISSUE, AT 12: 01 TOMORROW NIGHT, THE RAILROADS WILL SHUT DOWN AND THE ECONOMIC IMPACT ON THE AMERICAN PEOPLE IS $2 BILLION A DAY. $2 BILLION.

THE SENATOR FROM MISSISSIPPI AND I HAVE INTRODUCED A BILL THAT WILL ADOPT THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION RECOMMENDATIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS THAT INCLUDE A 24% INCREASE IN PAY, PAID RETROACTIVELY IN 2020, ANNUAL BONUSES OF $1,000, AND ADDITIONAL PAID LEAVE. THIS IS WHAT’S BEEN NEGOTIATED BY THE PEB BOARD, BUT AS SENATOR WICKER SAID THERE ARE HOLDOUTS FROM A STANDPOINT OF SOME OF THE MAJOR UNIONS, EVEN THOUGH EIGHT HAVE AGREED TO IT.

NOW, AS I SAID, CONGRESS HAS TAKEN THIS ACTION 18 TIMES, TO INTERVENE IN 12 DIFFERENT RAIL DISPUTES, AND IT SPANS BACK TO 1982, AND THE LATEST WAS IN 1991. SO, I DARE SAY THERE ARE ONLY A FEW IN THIS BODY THAT WERE HERE WHEN THAT HAPPENED.

NOW, SENATOR SANDERS IS ON THE FLOOR, AND I KNOW HE’S GOING TO OBJECT.

AND I KNOW HE’S GOING TO OBJECT BECAUSE I READ HIS TWEET THIS WEEK. IT SAID THIS — CONGRESS SHOULDN’T STAND IN THE WAY OF RAILROAD WORKERS GOING ON STRIKE. THE RAIL COMPANIES HAVE AVOIDED BARGAINING, ABUSED THEIR WORKERS, ALLIED WITH THE SAME FORCES WHO KILLED THE BIDEN AGENDA IN 2021. NOW THEY WANT CONGRESS TO SUPPORT THEIR GREED. DON’T. SOUNDS VERY SIMILAR TO THE ARGUMENT HE WAS JUST MAKING TO SENATOR SCOTT ABOUT STUDENT LOANS.

IT SOUNDS VERY SIMILAR TO EVERY ARGUMENT HE USES THAT THERE’S THIS THING IN AMERICA WHERE NOBODY IS SPEAKING UP FOR SOME.

LISTEN, THIS IS THE PRESIDENT’S BIPARTISAN EMERGENCY BOARD THAT HE SET UP THAT CAME BACK WITH A RECOMMENDATION TO THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION AND SAID HERE IS THE SOLUTION TO THIS. IT SHOULD BE ADOPTED.

THIS IS REALLY WEIRD THAT SENATOR WICKER AND I ARE ON THE FLOOR INTRODUCING LEGISLATION THAT SUPPORTS THE PRESIDENT’S POSITION AND THE POSITION OF THE PRESIDENT’S EMERGENCY BOARD.

NOW, HERE’S THE KEY THING. THIS IS THE TAKEAWAY. WE DON’T HAVE TO BE HERE.

SENATOR SCHUMER AT ANY POINT CAN PLACE THIS LEGISLATION ON THE FLOOR.

CLEARLY SENATOR SANDERS WOULD OBJECT THEN, BUT LET ME MAKE A PROMISE. IF SENATOR SCHUMER NEEDS VOTES, I CAN DELIVER 48 REPUBLICAN VOTES TO IMPLEMENT THE PEB RECOMMENDATION AND THE BIDEN ENDORSED POSITION.

LET ME SAY THAT AGAIN BECAUSE I WANT TO MAKE SURE SENATOR SCHUMER’S STAFF UNDERSTANDS. THIS IS ABOUT HOW YOU GET TO 60. I DON’T WANT TO GET INTO 101 OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE BUT 60 VOTES, AS THE PRESIDENT KNOWS, IS REQUIRED. I’M OFFERING 48. HE ONLY NEEDS TO HE GET 12 ON HIS SIDE TO HAVE 60 VOTES TO TAKE THIS UP, TO PASS IT AND HAVE THIS OVER WITH AND THERE’S NO INTERRUPTION.

NOT ONLY IS IT $2 BILLION A DAY IN ECONOMIC IMPACT, THIS IS 160,000 TRAIN LOADS OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCT AT A TIME OF HARVEST ACROSS THIS COUNTRY. THERE ARE SOME THAT SAY, WELL, THIS ISN’T GOING TO AFFECT ME. THEY HAUL COAL, GAS, PETROLEUM, THEY HAUL GASES LIKE HELIUM THAT ARE REQUIRED FOR MANUFACTURING BUSINESSES. THEY HAUL AUTO PARTS, WHICH MEANS YOU’RE GOING TO SEE AUTO ASSEMBLY PLANTS SHUT DOWN. NOT BECAUSE OF CHINA, BUT BECAUSE WE LET THE RAILROAD WORKERS GO ON STRIKE AND NOT SUPPORT THE PRESIDENT’S POSITION. SO THIS IS NOT POLITICAL.

THIS IS REPUBLICANS SUPPORTING THE PRESIDENT’S POSITION AND ONLY ASKING 12 DEMOCRATS TO SUPPORT THIS ACTION. I ASK MY COLLEAGUES, DROP THIS CONCERN THAT YOU’RE REPRESENTING ONE SIDE OR OTHER.

ASK YOURSELF WHAT’S BEST FOR AMERICA. WE JUST GOT A REPORT THAT INFLATION’S 8.3%. 8.3%. FOOD UP .7%, HOUSING UP .6%. GASOLINE WAS DOWN AND PEOPLE EXPECTED INFLATION NUMBERS TO GO DOWN, 8.3%, WAGES AREN’T KEEPING UP WITH THAT.

EVERY AMERICAN FAMILY IS LOSING MONEY EVERY MONTH. NOW WE’RE GOING TO TELL THEM THAT YOU ARE GONNA PAY MORE BECAUSE FOOD IS GOING TO BE SCARCE, COMMODITIES ARE GOING TO BE SCARCE, SOME THINGS ARE NOT GOING TO BE DELIVERED.

IF WE THOUGHT THE PORT CHAOS THAT WE SAW LAST YEAR WAS BAD, WE’RE GOING TO SEE A COMPLETE SHUTDOWN OF RAIL. AND WE’RE JUST A MATTER OF MONTHS FROM CHRISTMAS WHEN MOST RETAILERS ARE COUNTING ON THAT PRODUCT TO COME IN. PORTS LIKE SEATTLE AND L.A., WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO DO WITH THE CONTAINERS? YOU TALK ABOUT SHIPS STAYING OUT AT OCEAN.

AMTRAK CANCELLED THEIR EAST WEST RAIL COVERAGE TODAY GOING FORWARD.

CARRIERS HAVE ALREADY STOPPED HAULING HAZARDOUS WASTE BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T WANT TO GET HALFWAY DOWN THE LINE AND NOT BE ABLE TO SECURE THE HAZARDOUS WASTE.

WE’RE AT A REAL TIPPING POINT ON THIS AND THIS CAN ALL BE SOLVED BY EITHER NO OBJECTION TO THE UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUEST OR BY SENATOR SCHUMER BRINGING THIS TO THE FLOOR KNOWING HE HAS GOT 48 REPUBLICANS AND ONLY NEEDS TO PRODUCE 12 TO GET TO 60. THIS IS A REALLY EASY THING. IT’S AN EASY LIFT.

WELL, MY HOPE IS THAT WE’LL TAKE ONE OF THE TWO PATHS, BUT DO UNDERSTAND THAT IN LESS THAN 48 HOURS, 12:01 FRIDAY MORNING, THE LIKELIHOOD IS THAT WITHOUT ACTION BY CONGRESS, THERE WILL BE A STRIKE. SO AT TIME THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, AS IF IN THE SENATE LEGISLATIVE SESSION, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE COMMITTEE ON HEALTH, EDUCATION, LABOR AND PENSIONS BE DISCHARGED FROM FURTHER CONSIDERATION OF S.J. RES. 61 AND THE SENATE PROCEED TO ITS IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION. FURTHER, THAT THE JOINT RESOLUTION BE CONSIDERED READ A THIRD TIME AND PASSED AND THAT THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE CONSIDERED MADE AND LAID UPON THE TABLE.” https://www.c-span.org/congress/?chamber=senate
(C-span closed caption. Corrected based on original video, but still not absolutely perfect. The audio is the only original. The official transcript will be that found in the US Congressional Record.

The 8.3% cited is 12 months. The 0.7, etc., is over one month.

News Release:
Burr, Wicker Call on Senate to Immediately Pass Resolution Preventing Disastrous Rail Worker Strike
September 14, 2022
Today, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, took to the Senate floor to call on Congress to immediately pass their resolution to prevent a disastrous rail worker strike in a matter of days.  https://www.help.senate.gov/ranking/newsroom/press/burr-wicker-introduce-resolution-calling-for-adoption-of-biden-administration-rail-recommendations-if-voluntary-agreements-are-not-reached
The resolution would adopt the comprehensive recommendations made by President Biden’s appointees to the Presidential Emergency Board (PEB), if no voluntary agreement can be reached prior to 12:01 AM ET Friday, September 16, when a mandated cooling off period ends. The PEB recommendations include significant wage rate increases for workers retroactive to 2020. 

Without an agreement, America faces a potential rail worker strike as early as September 16th, which would cost an estimated $2 billion a day. Rail carriers have already begun to curtail shipments of certain materials and passenger routes in preparation for a potential strike.

“If we do not force this issue, at 12:01 tomorrow night, railroads will shut down, and the economic impact on people is $2 billion a day,” said Senator Burr. “Not only is $2 billion a day in economic impact, this is 160,000 trainloads of agricultural product at a time of harvest across this country. There’s some that say, well, this is going to affect me. They haul coal. They haul gas. They haul petroleum. They haul gases like helium that are required for manufacturing businesses. They haul autoparts, which means you’re going to see auto assembly plants shut down – not because of China, but because we let the railroad workers go on strike and not support the president’s position.”

Senator Burr continued, “This is not political. This is Republicans supporting the president’s position and only asking 12 Democrats to support this action. I ask my colleagues, drop this concern that you’re representing one side or the other. Ask yourself what’s best for America.”
“Inflation is at 8.3 percent or higher. Our GDP is shrinking and supply chains have not recovered from the pandemic. The last thing we need is a shutdown of this nation’s rail service, both passenger and freight, and yet that is what we are facing in less than a day-and-a-half from this moment: a massive rail strike that will virtually shut down our economy,” said Senator Wicker. “Congress can pass the recommendation of the PEB in full… and we can avoid this strike. And that’s what we ought to be doing.”

Sens. Burr and Wicker called for the Senate to pass the resolution by unanimous consent; the move was blocked by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who offered no solution to prevent massive disruptions and higher costs for middle-class Americans if an agreement is not reached in the next day-and-a-half.

 You can read more about the resolution here. https://www.help.senate.gov/ranking/newsroom/press/burr-wicker-introduce-resolution-calling-for-adoption-of-biden-administration-rail-recommendations-if-voluntary-agreements-are-not-reached
You can read complete text of the resolution here. https://www.help.senate.gov/download/resolution-on-rail-worker-dispute

Background:

Since 2019, the railroad industry and rail unions have been engaged in negotiations for a new contract, failing to produce an agreement. In July 2022, following the process established by the Railway Labor Act, President Biden appointed a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) to investigate the dispute and make recommendations.

In August 2022, the PEB released its recommendations, which were endorsed by the White House. The recommendations proposed a 24 percent wage increase, plus $1,000 annual bonuses, to be applied retroactively dating to 2020, as well as increased health care and other benefits.

If the parties have not reached a tentative agreement by September 16th, the rail unions could engage in strike activity, which would cost an estimated $2 billion a day.
Senator Burr’s and Senator Wicker’s resolution further provides clarity and continuity to ensure the continued delivery of necessary goods to the American people.” https://www.burr.senate.gov/2022/9/burr-wicker-call-on-senate-to-immediately-pass-resolution-preventing-disastrous-rail-worker-strike

The 8.3% cited is 12 months. The 0.7, etc., is over one month.
“The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 0.1 percent in August on a seasonally adjusted basis after being unchanged in July, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 8.3 percent before seasonal adjustment.

Increases in the shelter, food, and medical care indexes were the largest of many contributors to the broad-based monthly all items increase. These increases were mostly offset by a 10.6-percent decline in the gasoline index. The food index continued to rise, increasing 0.8 percent over the month as the food at home index rose 0.7 percent. The energy index fell 5.0 percent over the month as the gasoline index declined, but the electricity and natural gas indexes increased.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.6 percent in August, a larger increase than in July. The indexes for shelter, medical care, household furnishings and operations, new vehicles, motor vehicle insurance, and education were among those that increased over the month. There were some indexes that declined in August, including those for airline fares, communication, and used cars and trucks.

The all items index increased 8.3 percent for the 12 months ending August, a smaller figure than the 8.5-percent increase for the period ending July. The all items less food and energy index rose 6.3 percent over the last 12 months. The energy index increased 23.8 percent for the 12 months ending August, a smaller increase than the 32.9-percent increase for the period ending July. The food index increased 11.4 percent over the last year, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending May 1979.https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cpi.pdf

Schumer’s brother, Robert Schumer, specializes in Mergers and Acquisitions: https://web.archive.org/web/20220409220731/https://www.paulweiss.com/professionals/partners-and-counsel/robert-b-schumer Robert Schumer, served as legal counsel Elliott Management “in some of its most prominent deals and campaigns to shake up large companies”, including oil and gas” See: “Meet Bob Schumer, the lawyer who helped Adam Neumann secure a $1.7 billion exit package that infuriated some WeWork employees” by Casey Sullivan – October 30, 2019, Business Insider https://archive.vn/E8bDI Schumer’s brother, Robert, worked for Singer for years.

Vermont has only 645,570 people but is being allowed to potentially shut down the entire country and supply chain. They make cheese so won’t starve. Vermont is one of the least diverse states, as well, with a white non-hispanic population of 92%: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/VT,US/RHI825221#RHI825221

UPDATE: