President Joe Biden said on Thursday that his administration was involved in negotiations to avert a looming U.S. railroad strike that could shut down supply chains across the country but added that he has not directly engaged on the matter yet.
Speaking to reporters outside a fire station on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, Biden declined to provide details on how the talks were going because it was "the middle of negotiations."
"My team has been in touch with all the parties ... and I have not directly engaged yet," Biden said. "They are still talking."
More than 300 groups, including the National Retail Federation and the National Association of Manufacturers, urged Biden last month to get involved to help avoid a strike that could have a significant impact on the U.S. economy.
A rail traffic stoppage could freeze almost 30% of U.S. cargo shipments by weight, stoke inflation and cost the American economy as much as $2 billion per day by unleashing a cascade of transport woes affecting U.S. energy, agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare and retail sectors.
On Monday, workers at the largest U.S. rail union voted against a tentative contract deal reached in September, raising the possibility of a year-end strike.
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