Rail Strike Averted
Early on Sept. 15, it was announced that the six Class I railroads and union workers reached a tentative deal with the management council for the rail carriers, avoiding the risk of a strike.
The tentative deal prevented about 115,000 conductors, engineers, and other employees from staging a walkout.
In a statement by President Biden, he said this deal would guarantee “better pay, improved working conditions and peace of mind around their health care costs.”
While there are no deals of the deal available to the public we do know what the Presidential Emergency Board suggested.
In the 124-page report, they suggested a 24% increase in wages over the next five years, $5,000 bonuses, better working conditions, and scheduling flexibility.
A spokesperson for the Labor Department said it “balances the needs of workers, businesses, and our nation’s economy.”
The Labor Department statement noted that the tentative agreement came after 20 hours of face-to-face negotiating in Washington. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh took part in the talks.
Many companies were already planning for the rail strike, and as a result, Amtrak and other regional passenger railroads planned a suspicion of long-distance rail service. This is because these regional passenger rails share a track with the freight rails that were planning the strike.
ATA President Chris Spear has been a vocal force, urging both sides to find a solution.
“Our supply chain is entirely interdependent, making the potential for a nationwide rail stoppage a serious threat to our nation’s economic and national security,” Spear said. “We applaud both sides for reaching a tentative agreement that averts this outcome and permits our supply chain to continue climbing out of this COVID-induced rut.”
As talks progressed, Spear sent a letter to Capitol Hill warning of the risks of a rail walkout.
The Association of American Railroads estimated a strike could have caused $2 billion a day in economic impact, disrupting agriculture, energy, retail, automotive, and several other types of freight.
“Thanks to the dedication of all members involved in the collective bargaining process, these new contracts provide rail employees a 24% wage increase during the five-year period from 2020 through 2024, including an immediate payout on average of $11,000 upon ratification, following the recommendations of Presidential Emergency Board No. 250. All tentative agreements are subject to ratification by the union’s membership,” AAR said in a statement.
After years of back and forth, a decision has finally been made. 24% raises, $5,000 bonuses, and immediate financial payout are on the horizon for the rail unions. For more updates like this, subscribe to our newsletter.
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