Train strike threatens as major unions split contractually

All 12 railroad unions must approve the deals to stave off a strike just before the holiday that could shut down supply chains and hamper a strained US economy.

OMAHA, Neb — Railroad engineers accepted their deal with the railroads that will bring 24% pay rises, but conductors rejected the deal, raising further doubts about the industry’s ability to end the labor dispute before next month’s deadline without to seek help from Congress.

A separate vote by the two largest railroad unions on Monday follows rejection of their deals with the railroads by three other unions that the Biden administration helped mediate ahead of the original September strike deadline. Seven smaller unions have agreed to the five-year deal, which includes a $5,000 bonus in addition to the 24% pay rise.

But many union members have voted to reject the contracts because they say they fail to address demanding schedules and workers’ quality of life issues.

All 12 must agree to the contracts to prevent a strike that could shut down supply chains and hamper a stressed US economy still recovering from the pandemic.

The unions, which had rejected their agreements, have agreed to return to the negotiating table to try and negotiate a new agreement before a new strike deadline early next month. But those talks have stalled because the railroads are refusing to add additional paid sick leave to what’s already on offer.

It seems increasingly likely that Congress will have to step in to settle the dispute. The legislature has the power to enforce contract terms when both sides are unable to reach an agreement. Hundreds of business groups have urged Congress to stand ready to intervene if necessary.

Workers, frustrated by the industry’s demanding schedules and deep downsizing, pushed for rejecting these contracts because they fail to address workers’ top quality of life concerns. The agreements for the engineers and conductors included a promise to improve the scheduling of regular days off and to further negotiate the details of these schedules with each railroad. Unions representing engineers and conductors were also given three unpaid days off per year to attend to medical needs, provided they were scheduled at least 30 days in advance.

The railroads also lost their offer to reduce crew size to one person as part of the negotiations. But the heads of the transportation division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers Union still narrowly rejected the deal.

The railroads claim that dealings with unions should closely follow recommendations made this summer by a special panel of arbitrators appointed by President Joe Biden. That’s one of the reasons they don’t want to offer paid sick leave. Also, the railroads say unions have agreed over the years to forgo paid sick leave in favor of higher wages and strong short-term disability benefits.

Unions say it is long overdue for railroads to offer workers paid sick leave and the pandemic has underscored the need for it. Train strike threatens as major unions split contractually

Laura Coffey

World Time Todays is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button