Members of a key rail union voted to reject a tentative contract agreement negotiated by the Biden administration, raising the risk of a strike that would shut down the nation’s railroads. 

Train and engine workers at the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers’s transportation division (SMART-TD) narrowly voted down the deal, the union announced Monday

The vote sets the stage for a walkout in early December, in the middle of the holiday shopping season that demands increased shipping volume. Railroads transport around one-third of U.S. freight, including large amounts of food, packaged goods, fuel and car parts that can’t be shipped by other means. 

“This can all be settled through negotiations and without a strike,” SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson said in a statement. “A settlement would be in the best interests of the workers, the railroads, shippers and the American people.”... Read More: The Hill