By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - The US Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill Thursday that seeks to avoid a nationwide rail shutdown by forcing labor unions to accept a tentative agreement brokered by the Biden administration.
The Senate's 80-15-1 vote sends the measure to President Joe Biden, who is expected to quickly sign the measure into law after imploring lawmakers to approve it. The House on Wednesday approved the bill with a strong bipartisan majority.
It forces rail unions to accept a tentative agreement brokered by the Biden administration over the summer. Four of the 12 labor unions involved in the negotiations have rejected the agreement over its lack of paid sick leave for workers. Unions have threatened to strike if an agreement is not reached by a Dec. 9 deadline.
The president has urged Congress to quickly approve the bill, saying that if the strike were allowed to take hold, it would result in up to 765,000 Americans losing their jobs in the first two weeks alone.