The rail sector and its employees have reached an agreement to loosen its famed attendance rules.
US President Joe Biden declared on Thursday that the rail strike that had the potential to halt freight traffic throughout the country has been temporarily avoided. After a "cooling off" period of several weeks, the industry and union representatives' draught agreement will be presented to the workforce for ratification.
The hard-earned benefits that these rail workers will receive include better pay, better working conditions, and assurance regarding their health care costs, boasted Biden. He also stated that their employers "will be able to retain and recruit more workers for an industry that will continue to be part of the backbone of the American economy for decades to come."
According to the tentative parameters of the agreement, union workers would receive a 24% salary raise over the five years from 2020 to 2024 as well as a retroactive payment for the two years that have already passed. Additionally, the railways have agreed to lift the severe disciplinary penalties previously associated with taking unpaid days off for medical visits and other emergencies.
Holdout unions had made it clear on Wednesday that they would not agree to any settlement without concessions on the "brutal" attendance policy, which forced employees to be on call 90% of the time. However, the specifics of the attendance agreement have not yet been made public.
It would have been the first railroad workers' strike in three decades and particularly catastrophic given the current inflation and supply chain crises in the US had the sector's 115,000 workers walked off the job at midnight as they had threatened to do if the business did not heed their demands. A rail strike, which some say would have cost the nation $2 billion per day, would have affected 40% of the nation's freight rail traffic. Amtrak, which preemptively shut down its long-distance lines on Wednesday because they use track owned and operated by the freight companies, would have also been affected by the strike.
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