Will the Federal Government Insert Itself into Major Labor Contract Negotiations this Year?

President Biden, self-proclaimed “most pro-union president ever” participated in the labor negotiations for the railway industry.

He took credit for stopping a potential national freight rail strike.

A strike between the private rail companies and their employees, in theory, could have severely crippled the U.S. economy.

Secretary of Labor, Marty Walsh, a former union leader, has now inserted himself in labor negotiations between West Coast Port operators and the union representing their employees.

Again, in theory, a strike at the ports could severely cripple the U.S. economy.

But, per Sec. Walsh, a strike does not seem imminent. And some shippers have already re-routed their cargo to other U.S. ports.

Several more big labor contracts will be renegotiated in 2023 affecting over half a million employees.
* UPS (250k)
* Movie/TV Produces (150k)
* Big 3 Auto makers (150k)
* Kaiser Permanente (75k).

No telling if the federal government will insert itself into these negotiations.

I’m not sure how I feel about the government’s participation in negotiations between private employers and their employees.

Part of me thinks its good that deals were struck, strikes averted, and the economy did not shut down.

Part of me thinks government should not intrude because of its implied power to strong-arm a deal. Everyone knows where the allegiance of Biden and Walsh lies. I would feel the same if it was a pro-company President and Secretary of Labor.


Matt Austin is a nationwide management labor lawyer. Labor laws govern virtually all private-sector employees regardless of union membership. Proactive management of labor relations is critical to maintaining flexibility and increasing profit.

Matt also runs Austin Legal’s HR Legal Compliance Program that, for a small monthly fee, ensures HR decisions are protected by the attorney-client privilege.

Matt’s experience is deeply rooted in helping manage many aspects of his clients’ businesses. To effectively manage labor relations, he must also manage budgets, forecasts, new growth areas, and projected market corrections. High emotional intelligence is also critical to negotiating union contracts and to properly advise HR Legal Compliance members through the nuances of the law, its application to their companies, and how it will be received by employees.

You can reach Matt via email at Matt@MattAustinLaborLaw.com.