The railroad strike has been narrowly averted after a 20-hour negotiation meeting between unions and rail management. The two parties were able to reach a tentative deal early on Thursday, September 15th, with involvement from the United States President, Joe Biden. Railroad workers are governed by different labor laws compared to most workers, one that limits their freedom to strike and allows for more governmental intervention. If a nationwide rail strike had occurred, it would have been the first in more than 30 years. It also threatened to cost the U.S. $2 billion in lost economic output for every day not in operation. While most of the details of the agreement have not been shared publicly, one of the accepted terms of the deal would provide an immediate pay raise wage increase of 24% over a 5 year span from 2020 to 2024, including back pay, and bonuses of $5000 with on average per member. Jeremy Ferguson, president of the conductors’ union and one of the leading individuals involved in the meeting, said that they were able to address a key concern, which was absences due to medical events. The agreement also reportedly provides an extra paid day off per worker and will allow changes to the employee attendance policies enacted by railroads during the COVID-19 Pandemic with the stated purpose of increasing service consistency. “We’re very proud of what was accomplished,” said Ferguson. “Everybody pulled together to make sure that we could get our members what they deserved.” Union members will now vote on whether to approve the tentative agreement. An article published by Freight Waves reports on the railway negotiations in detail.
To read the article, click here.