US railroad workers could go on strike again after a new vote

A rail workers’ union on Monday rejected an agreement with the country’s freight carriers that could precede another strike. Railroad workers across the country had previously reached an agreement with Class 1 freight railroads.

The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division voted 43% to 57% against ratifying the proposed five-year contract, with the latter opposing the agreement. The vote brings the parties back to the negotiating table. Should talks prove difficult, the strike could resume.

“Lack of paid sick leave was the most frequently cited and specific concern of membership. Especially during the pandemic, it became clear that this was a big problem,” the union said in a statement. “The railway has not yet dealt with it in a meaningful way.”

Almost 12,000 employees, more than half of the 23,000 BMWE members, took part in the vote. The union is the third largest major rail freight union.

Meanwhile, the two largest unions, representing over 55,000 workers, hold an independent ratification vote by letter.

Railroad workers reached a tentative deal Sept. 15 after a 20-hour negotiating session after President Joe Biden and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh intervened.

The new contracts include a 14% salary increase with unpaid wages through 2020 and increases totaling 24% over the five-year contract term from 2020 to 2024. They also provide union members with cash bonuses of $1,000 per year. However, workers remain opposed to schedules and other work rules.

The major railroads carry 30% of the country’s freight, measured by weight and distance. The Biden administration has made avoiding a railroad shutdown a priority given the difficult economy and the adverse effects of a prolonged strike.

President Biden hailed the Sept. 15 deal in a statement as “an important win for our economy and the American people.”

“These railroad workers will get better pay, better working conditions and peace of mind about their healthcare costs: all hard-earned,” he said.

https://www.ibtimes.com.au/after-new-vote-us-railroad-workers-could-strike-again-1839426?utm_source=Public&utm_medium=Feed&utm_campaign=Distribution US railroad workers could go on strike again after a new vote

Fry Electronics Team

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