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Rail Union Rejects Labor Deal, Potential Strike Threat Returns

Railroads are back to the bargaining table after the U.S.'s third-largest railroad rejected the Biden administration's tentative railway labor agreement Monday. More than 11,000 members of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division of the Teamsters (BMWED) voted with 56% against the tentative agreement, per NBC News.

"Railroaders are discouraged and upset with working conditions and compensation and hold their employer in low regard," Tony Cardwell, president of BMWED, said in a statement. "Railroaders do not feel valued. They resent the fact that management holds no regard for their quality of life, illustrated by their stubborn reluctance to provide a higher quantity of paid time off, especially for sickness."

Though the tentative agreement includes monetary compensation, (a 24% wage increase by 2024, $1,000 annual bonuses over five years and one paid sick day off), union leaders pushed for 15 paid sick days, and are still concerned about safe workplace conditions.

In addition to the ongoing supply chain constraints—gas, food and factory shortages prior to the holiday season can have a major impact on the economy if the strike ensues. But even with reluctance to the deals, union leadership is confident that members may ratify the contract—even without all negotiations met, according to CNN Business.

The two largest unions, Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, Transportation union and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen have yet to vote. The Associated Press reported that the union will delay any strike until five days after Congress reconvenes in mid-November to allow time for additional negotiations.

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Thursday, 01 December 2022

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