Biden Rail Strike

President Joe Biden signs H.J.Res.100, a bill that aims to avert a freight rail strike, in the Roosevelt Room at the White House, on Friday, in Washington. Biden is joined by from left, Celeste Drake, Made in America Director at the Office of Management and Budget, National Economic Council director Brian Deese, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigiegand Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press

President Biden said Friday that the legislation he was signing to avert a freight rail strike also prevented the country from a recession.

“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 in the calendar,” he said.

The Senate passed a bill Thursday binding rail companies and workers to a proposed settlement that companies and union leaders reached in September. Some of the members in several unions did not support the contract and threatened to strike beginning next week.

Biden has argued that a strike would have led to about 750,000 job losses while causing chaos to the supply chains for the food, basic goods and chemicals many Americans rely on for clean drinking water.

Concerns about paid sick leave remain for many workers, an issue Biden said he is not ignoring. The president has said he wants paid sick leave for all workers, but Republican lawmakers continue to block attempts that would require time off for family and medical leave.

“And look, I know this bill doesn’t have paid sick leave as these rail workers and frankly, every worker in America deserves,” he said. “But that fight isn’t over.”

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