Overnight into Thursday morning, officials from the Biden administration and the Labor Department announced that a tentative deal has been reached between railroads and unions representing some 100,000 engineers, conductors and train workers to avoid a potential rail strike that was to start Friday morning. As long as the tentative deal is signed and approved, it will bring and end to a potentially devastating strike that could cripple supply chains and impact inflation even more.
According to a statement from President Joe Biden, “The tentative agreement reached tonight is an important win for our economy and the American people,” Biden said. “It is a win for tens of thousands of rail workers who worked tirelessly through the pandemic to ensure that America’s families and communities got deliveries of what have kept us going during these difficult years.”
The deal overnight into this morning was between the National Carriers’ Conference Committee – representing the nation’s leading railroads – and the remaining unions representing railroad workers – the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers – Transportation Division, and the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen.
Mike Steenhoek, Executive Director of the Soy Transportation Coalition, released a statement this morning saying in part; “We are extremely pleased both sides were able to arrive at an agreement. Our nation’s railroads are integral to the success of the American farmer. Without cost-effective, reliable rail service, so much of what farmers produce will never connect with our domestic and international customers. American farmers are responding to the challenges of global food insecurity. We need our nation’s railroads to be a reliable partner in this effort. A strike, lockout, or significant slowdown would have imposed significant harm on agriculture – particularly on the eve of harvest. The tentative agreement allows farmers and U.S. agriculture to proceed with doing what they do best – being the highest quality, most reliable provider of food to the world.”
Specifics of the deal are still coming out but it appears the deal will have a 24 percent wage increase during the five year period of the contract (2020-2024) – consistent with the recommendations of the Presidential Emergency Board. An immediate average payout of $11,000 will be provided upon ratification.
You can read the statement from President Biden here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/09/15/statement-by-president-joe-biden-on-tentative-railway-labor-agreement/