Potential railroad strike delayed until early December

Nov 9, 2022, 11:18 AM | Updated: 11:38 am
FILE - Freight cars wait to be hauled out of the Norfolk Southern Conway Terminal in Conway, Pa., S...

FILE - Freight cars wait to be hauled out of the Norfolk Southern Conway Terminal in Conway, Pa., Sept. 15, 2022. The possibility of an economically devastating railroad strike has been pushed back into early December to allow time for engineers and conductors to vote on their agreements with the freight railroads and give more opportunity for the industry to renegotiate with two unions that rejected their deals last month. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The possibility of an economically devastating railroad strike has been pushed back into early December to allow time for engineers and conductors to vote on their agreements with the freight railroads and give more opportunity for the industry to renegotiate with two unions that rejected their deals last month.

Previously, a Nov. 19 strike deadline hung over the talks, but the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division union that represents track maintenance workers agreed Wednesday to delay any action at least until Dec. 4. So for now the trains operated by BNSF, Union Pacific, Norfolk Southern, CSX, Kansas City Southern and other railroads will continue delivering the raw materials and finished products that so many businesses in all industries need.

The railroads are offering the biggest raises workers have seen in more than four decades, but railroads have resisted union demands to add paid sick time, and the new contracts won’t resolve all the workers’ quality of life concerns.

All 12 rail unions must approve their deals to prevent a strike. Seven unions have ratified their five-year contracts with 24% raises and $5,000 in bonuses so far, but the BMWED and Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen unions rejected their agreements. Three other unions are voting this month, and the two biggest unions that represent conductors and engineers aren’t set to announce their results until two days after the previous Nov. 19 deadline.

“This agreement to extend the cooling off period affords all unionized employees the opportunity to vote on their agreements free of a looming strike threat,” said Ian Jefferies, president and CEO of the Association of American Railroads trade group.

The outcome of the votes by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers unions will play a major role in determining how this contract dispute is resolved because those workers that operate the trains have the most quality-of-life concerns about demanding schedules that keep them on call 24-7.

And the renewed talks with the BMWED and BRS unions have stalled over the issue of paid sick time because the railroads don’t want to offer much more than what a panel of arbitrators President Joe Biden appointed recommended this summer. And the industry argues that the unions have agreed to forego paid sick time over the years in favor of higher wages and strong short-term disability benefits.

The unions argue that the pandemic highlighted the need for the basic benefit of paid sick time that is taken for granted in most industries because the railroads temporarily offered some paid time off for COVID-related absences.

The economic stakes of this contract dispute are so high that Congress is expected to step in and block a strike if the two sides can’t agree. Hundreds of business groups have urged lawmakers and Biden to be ready to intervene if necessary.

The unions say they believe the railroads are banking on the idea that Congress won’t order them to offer more than the Presidential Emergency Board of arbitrators recommended.

The BMWED said it plans to use the delay to talk more with members of Congress “about the railroad workers’ state of despair that management has created and the railroad workers’ need for paid sick time off.” That way if Congress does have to impose terms, the union hopes lawmakers will order the railroads to offer sick time along with the substantial raises.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A migrant from Michoacan, Mexico, uses the CBPOne app Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, in Tijuana, Mexico. A...
Associated Press

Online system to seek asylum in US is quickly overwhelmed

TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) — Hours before sunrise, migrants at one of Mexico’s largest shelters wake up and go online, hoping to secure an appointment to try to seek asylum in the U.S. The daily ritual resembles a race for concert tickets when online sales begin for a major act, as about 100 people glide their […]
7 hours ago
Associated Press

Challenge for Tunisian democracy: Getting voters to show up

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Tunisia was once the Arab world’s hope for a new era of democracy. Now it’s in the midst of an election that’s more of an embarrassment than a model. Barely 11% of voters turned out in the first round of parliamentary elections last month, boycotted by opposition Islamists and ignored by […]
7 hours ago
Associated Press

Philippines probes labor abuses in Kuwait after new killing

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine government said Saturday it will take steps to assess and prevent abuses including rape and maltreatment of Filipino workers in Kuwait, after a housemaid was killed and dumped in a desert in the oil-rich emirate. The remains of Jullebee Ranara were flown home Friday night from Kuwait, where the […]
7 hours ago
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni departs Algiers after a two day official visit in Algeria, Mo...
Associated Press

Italy, Libya sign $8B gas deal as PM Meloni visits Tripoli

CAIRO (AP) — Italy’s prime minister held talks in Libya on Saturday with officials from the country’s west-based government focusing on energy and migration, top issues for Italy and the European Union. During the visit, the two countries’ oil companies signed a gas deal worth $8 billion — the largest single investment in Libya’s energy […]
7 hours ago
FILE  - A view of a Flybe flight departing from Manchester Airport, Manchester, England, Jan. 13, 2...
Associated Press

Flights canceled as UK airline Flybe sinks into bankruptcy

LONDON (AP) — Struggling U.K. regional airline Flybe collapsed for the second time in three years Saturday, putting jobs on the line and leaving passengers stranded. The airline initially slumped into bankruptcy in March 2020, shedding 2,400 jobs, as coronavirus restrictions decimated the travel industry. It relaunched in April last year, flying many of the […]
7 hours ago
CORRECTS THE PHOTOGRAPHER'S NAME TO KWIYEON HA - Staff of Kyodo Senpaku Co. holds canned whale meat...
Associated Press

Japan firm opens whale meat vending machines to push sales

YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — A Japanese whaling operator, after struggling for years to promote its products amid protests from conservationists, has found a new way to cultivate clientele and bolster sales: whale meat vending machines. The Kujira (Whale) Store, an unmanned outlet that recently opened in the port town of Yokohama near Tokyo, houses three […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Potential railroad strike delayed until early December