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Biden administration demands snap Senate vote to avoid rail shutdowns By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Aerial view of gantry cranes, freight containers and freight railroad trains ahead of a possible strike if no deal with railroad unions, at the Union Pacific Railroad Los Angeles (UPLA) intermodal yard in Commerce, Cal

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Biden administration on Thursday urged the U.S. Senate to quickly pass a bill to prevent a rail strike, warning of serious economic disruptions within days.

The US House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to approve a bill to force a preliminary contract reached in September on 12 unions representing 115,000 workers. The House of Representatives also voted separately to require seven days of paid sick leave for railroad workers, a measure not approved by the White House.

“There is no substitute in the US transportation system for a functioning freight rail network,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told CNBC. “Not only will it bring down our rail system, it will actually shut down our economy.”

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Buttigieg, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and White House legislative director Louisa Terrell met with Senate Democrats on Thursday to try to convince them to move quickly.

Aides said a separate vote is expected this afternoon on rail bills and sick leave, as well as a separate motion to extend the “cooling off” period before workers go on strike.

Senator Bernie Sanders and others have called for a separate vote on the sick leave issue as a condition of agreeing to consider the fast-track vote on the rail contract. He denounced the railroad companies for refusing to offer paid sick leave.

“They are probably the worst case of corporate greed I’ve seen,” Sanders said. “This is truly barbaric in 2022 in America.”

Schumer said he wants to see paid sick leave included in the legislation.

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“Senators are working morning, noon and night to get an agreement for us to work on this measure as quickly as possible,” Schumer said. “The Senate can’t leave until we get the job done.”

Workers could go on strike as early as December 9, but the effects will be felt as soon as this weekend as rail lines stop accepting shipments of hazardous materials.

A rail strike could freeze nearly 30% of America’s freight shipments by weight, stoke already high inflation and cost the US economy up to $2 billion a day, and cut off millions of Amtrak and commuter rail commuters.

The railroads and the US Chamber of Commerce oppose modifying the contract deal struck in September largely based on the recommendations of an emergency council appointed by Biden. The ARA said the sick leave proposal “undermines bargaining and artificially adds to contracts that go beyond the scope of the agreements Biden has ratified.”

President Joe Biden on Monday hailed a proposed contract that includes a two-fold increase in wages of 24% over five years and five annual payments totaling $1,000, and asked Congress to enforce the agreement without any modifications.

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There are no short-term paid sick days under the temporary deal after unions requested 15 days and the rails settled for one personal day.

Eight of the 12 unions have ratified the deal. But some labor leaders criticized Biden for asking Congress to enforce a contract that workers in four unions rejected because he did not get paid sick leave.

Contracts cover workers in transport companies incl Union Pacific (NYSE:), Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:) Inc’s BNSF, CSX (NASDAQ:), Southern Norfolk Corp (NYSE:) and Kansas City Southern (NYSE:).

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Red Flags That Your Spouse Is Hiding Money (And What To Do About It)

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Marriage can be hard enough without one spouse hiding money from the other.

When financial infidelity occurs in the form of “hidden cash,” a marriage or a live-forever relationship can easily be ended.

The truth is About 30% of American couples suffer from financial infidelity. Other evidence shows that more than 75% of couples describe the hidden money situation as negative and common 10% of these scenarios end in divorce.

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US judge orders Norwegian Cruise Line to pay $110m for use of Cuba port By Reuters

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© Reuters. Norwegian American Airlines cruise ship Marina arrives in Havana Bay, Cuba on March 9, 2017. REUTERS/Alexander Meneghini/File/File Photo

Written by Brian Ellsworth

MIAMI (Reuters) – Norwegian Shipping Line (NYSE) has to pay $110 million in compensation for the use of a port confiscated by the Cuban government in 1960, a US judge said Friday, marking a significant milestone for Cuban Americans. Who are seeking reparations for the Cold War era. Assets confiscation.

The decision by US District Judge Beth Bloom in Miami follows her decision in March that use of the Havana Cruise Terminal constituted smuggling of forfeited property belonging to the plaintiff, Delaware-registered Havana Docks Corp.

The decision read: “The judgment is made in favor of Plaintiff Havana Docks Corporation and against Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Ltd.”

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“The plaintiff was awarded $109,848,747.87 in damages,” it says, adding that the Norwegian must also pay an additional $3 million in legal fees and costs.

Norwegian Cruise Line did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel has sharply criticized the Helms-Burton Act, calling it an extraterritorial violation of international law.

Havana Docks also sued Carnival Cruise Lines (NYSE: ), Royal Caribbean (NYSE:) and MSC under the Helms-Burton Act, which allows US citizens to sue over the use of property seized in Cuba after 1959.

The ruling could fuel more lawsuits by Cuban exiles pursuing claims, worth $2 billion, according to one estimate, over asset seizures under late Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

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It may also serve as a reminder to multinational companies of the complexities that can come with doing business in Cuba.

In 2016, US cruise ships began traveling to Cuba for the first time in decades after a détente negotiated by former President Barack Obama eased some provisions of a Cold War US embargo.

But the Trump administration in 2019 ordered a halt to all such cruises amid efforts to pressure Cuba over its support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Washington’s ideological foe.

The Trump administration has also allowed US citizens to sue third parties for using property seized by Cuban authorities, a provision of the Helms-Burton Act that every previous president has waived since the law was passed in 1996.

Havana Docs says Cuba, which has been under a US trade embargo for decades, has never compensated it for taking the drug.

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The four cruise lines sued in 2019 in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Bloom in March held the companies liable for damages under the Helms-Burton Act, also known as the Libertad Act.

According to the US-Cuban Economic and Trade Council, a nonprofit organization that provides information on relations between the two countries, 5,913 validated claims related to property seized in Cuba represent an estimated liability of nearly $2 billion.

Forty-four lawsuits have been filed under Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, the organization says.

“For the current plaintiffs of Cuban descent, (the decision) will give them a moment of relief,” said John Cavulich, the group’s president. “It will give them a moment to say ‘You can run but you can’t hide,’” Cavulich said.

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Is a Royal Caribbean or Carnival beverage package worth it?

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An all-inclusive beverage package that gives you access to beer, wine, liquor, bottled water, soda, specialty coffee, and even shakes/juices may cost more than your cruise fare.

This is especially true right now when many cruise cabins are being sold at discounted prices while the drinks package prices have gone up.

Deciding whether to purchase a drink package is a challenge because you have to estimate whether you will be drinking enough to cover the cost. Or, more importantly, whether you’d spend more if you decided not to purchase a drink package.



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