The threat of a nationwide rail strike is still possible, FOX Business reported on Nov. 14, after a third union rejected the September deal brokered by the Biden Administration.
According to a story posted at Fox Business on Monday, the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB) rejected the deal “over lack of sick leave,” making it the second union to object to that specific clause and the third out of 12 to spurn the proposal. All 12 unions must ratify the new contracts to avoid a strike.
Fox correspondent Breck Dumas wrote, “The IBB said in a statement that it has now entered a ‘cooling off’ period and plans to continue to negotiate further with the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC), which represents the nation’s largest railroads, including BNSF, CSX, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific.”
As of Monday IBB, the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS) and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (BMWED) have rejected the proposal, which provides rail workers a 24 percent wage increase during the period from 2020 through 2024.
“Union rail workers opposed to the tentative agreement negotiated by President Biden’s Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) are unhappy that the deal did not do more to address quality of life issues, particularly a lack of sick time and working on skeleton crews,” the story said.
It also noted that multiple union members had told FOX Business “they are frustrated that their union representatives signed off on the PEB’s recommendations back in September, arguing the agreement did not do enough to improve working conditions.”
Each of the twelve unions taking part in the negotiations “must agree to ratify their new contracts, or a strike could take place, devastating supply chains and the economy at large, costing an estimated $2 billion a day,” the Fox story continued. “Congress is expected to get involved if a work stoppage is triggered, but multiple unions have agreed to continue negotiating into early December.”
To date, the story noted, “seven unions have voted to ratify their contracts, and now three have voted against it. The remaining two unions’ ratification vote counts are slated to be announced next week.”