Remarks to Reporters on Signing a Bill Terminating the Railroad Labor Dispute

September 22, 1982

Well, thank you very much for coming here.

I have just signed into law Senate Joint Resolution 250, a bill that ends the 4-day-old national railway strike. There are many elected officials in Washington -- and I am one of them -- who prefer to keep the government out of the collective bargaining process. But we're also committed to protecting the vital national interest, and we must protect the jobs of our people and keep both factories and farms at work.

Our economy must stay on the track of recovery. If this strike were to continue, it could cost the American economy close to a billion dollars a day. Within 10 days, steelplants and additional auto factories would begin to close. And by far, the most important consideration for me is jobs. If this strike were prolonged, nearly a million Americans would face a threat of unemployment. We cannot afford such losses. It's been imperative that we act and act quickly.

I want to commend Members of the Senate and House for addressing this issue swiftly, decisively, and on a bipartisan basis. I'm also pleased that this measure won the support of many people of different views outside the Congress. It shows once again that when we face difficult times, difficult issues, that we Americans can unite for the common good.

Now, I thank you and can't take any questions, because I have to go over to the other part of the White House, there, and thank some people who saved the National Aquarium.

Note: The President spoke at 5:21 p.m. in the Briefing Room at the White House. Following his remarks, the President attended a reception on the State Floor of the White House to benefit the private sector effort to restore the National Aquarium at the Commerce Department Building.

As enacted, S.J. Res. 250 is Public Law 97 - 262, approved September 22. The act makes binding on the parties the Reports and Recommendations of Presidential Emergency Board No. 194, dated August 19, 1982.