(The Center Square) - President Joe Biden signed a bill forcing a deal between several rail companies and a dozen rail unions to avert a December 9 strike.
"With the signing of the Railway Labor Agreement, we not only spared this country a catastrophe," Biden said after the signing. "We ensured rail workers will get a historic 24 percent wage increase, better conditions, and a cap on health care costs. And I won't stop fighting for paid sick leave for all workers."
The House and Senate voted on the deal this week. Critics said the deal didn't do enough for workers and that the process shouldn't have been taken over by the federal government.
A report from the Association of American Railroads said that the shutdown would cost $2 billion per day and "would immediately harm every economic sector served by rail." The group said 7,000 trains per day would be affected and would "trigger retail product shortages, widespread manufacturing shutdowns, job losses and disruptions to hundreds of thousands of passenger rail customers."