How the "most pro-union" President and his administration averted a railroad strike
Washington (CNN) As the marathon meeting between rail industry and union representatives neared its 12th hour, the moment Biden administration officials viewed as equal parts inevitable and essential was set into motion.
In a celebratory White House speech Thursday morning, Biden said the agreement "can avert any significant damage" that a shutdown would have wrought.
Biden and his economic team have grappled with a series of major supply chain crises from his first weeks in office.
Biden's economic team, battle tested by months of port and trucking supply chain crunches, has shifted its well-honed, cross-agency supply chain contingency planning into high gear.
Administration struck delicate political balanceWhite House officials, who viewed an agreement as a necessity, had no misconception about the enormity of the stakes.
"This is how any high-stakes negotiation goes," the source familiar with the White House approach said.
Senior White House staff, Cabinet officials and Biden himself had worked the phones for days to try and break the impasse.
The White House had also refrained from calling for any congressional action.
Biden named retired Gen. Stephen Lyons, the former head of US Transportation Command, as his port and supply chain envoy in June.
There would have been unquestionable near-term effects, with palpable White House concern tied to the treatment of hazardous chemicals.
Still, as the last two years have shown, even minor ripples in the supply chain can create disruptions that take resources -- and time -- to untangle.
"They always had to understand that it was their responsibility to get this done," the source familiar with the White House approach said.