GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The U.S. House of Representatives voted 290-137 on Wednesday to pass legislation to approve new contracts for railroad workers and prevent a national rail strike. Now it’s being passed to the Senate to be voted on.

House votes to avert rail strike, provide workers paid sick leave

“The railroads provide a very valuable service for Eastern North Carolina residents,” said Nick Rupp, East Carolina University Department of Economics interim chair and professor. “They help with lowering transportation costs, they’re more fuel efficient than cars, so they also have better emissions for the environment, too.”

Rupp explained more about congressional involvement.

“They want to make a strike illegal by the railroad workers. And if this were to happen, that would prevent the railroad workers in essence, from striking,” said Rupp.

President Joe Biden also pushed an agreement as he met with several groups in order to prevent the strike that could cost the U.S. economy $2 billion per day.

Even worse, it could happen right in the middle of the holiday season.

“This, unfortunately, is not good news for the economy if a railroad strike were to occur. And don’t be surprised if you see higher prices on certain items that are shipped by rail,” said Rupp.

He said a domino effect would be employer layoffs. Rupp added since several businesses rely heavily on railways to ship their goods, a strike could see a stop in production including manufacturing and shipping goods.

“This should be resolved without, in my view, without the government even getting involved. It should be done among the railroad workers in railroad unions, let them hammer it out rather than roping in the President and Congress,” said Rupp.

As of now, the Senate hasn’t set a timeline on when they plan to vote on the bill. Biden encouraged the vote to happen sooner rather than later.