President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass legislation to adopt a tentative agreement between railroad workers and operators without modifications, a move aimed at averting a national rail shutdown.
A rail work stoppage could begin as early as 12:01 a.m. Eastern on Dec. 9.
“No one benefits from a rail work stoppage – not our customers, not rail employees and not the American economy,” AAR President and CEO Ian Jefferies said in a statement. “Now is the appropriate time for Congress to pass legislation to implement the agreements already ratified by eight of the twelve unions. A clear pattern of ratified agreements has been established and Congressional action to prevent a work stoppage in this manner is appropriate. These agreements will ultimately boost average employee compensation and benefits to more than $160,000.”
Eight of the 12 labor unions plus a portion of SMART-TD’s membership have now fully agreed to contracts forged in part by the leadership of the Biden Administration. These deals provide employees with a 24 percent wage increase over the five-year period from 2020 to 2024 and preserve employees’ best-in-class healthcare coverage.
Employees represented by unions who have already ratified are already benefitting from an 14.1% wage and immediate payouts that will average $16,000 across all unionized railroaders.