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US Trade Groups Want Congress To Legislate Away The Threat Of A Rail Strike
Should "Business" Prevail Over Rights Of Workers?
American businesses are starting to panic as the possibility of a nationwide railroad strike increasingly becomes the probability.
So unnerved are major trade groups that they are petitioning Congress to act before the current “cooling off" period expires on December 9th.
“As provided for under federal law and consistent with past practice, Congress must be prepared to intervene before the end of the current ‘status quo’ period on Dec. 9 to ensure continued rail service should railroads and [the] four unions fail to reach a voluntary agreement. A strike by any one union would assuredly result in a stoppage of national rail service,” said the letter signed by the Agriculture Transport Coalition, American Chemistry Council, American Petroleum Institute and National Retail Federation, among others.
While there is no denying the severe economic dislocations that a nationwide railroad stoppage would entail, there is also no denying that 56% of workers covered by the collective bargaining agreements have weighed those agreements in the balance and found them wanting.
Congress has intervened in railroad labor disputes 18 times before. However, while Congress is given the power to regulate interstate commerce, can that legislative authority ever preempt workers their First Amendment rights of peaceable assembly (which are what a strike is, functionally speaking)?
Should these trade groups not be telling the railroads to make peace with the unions and find an agreement all sides can live with?
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