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The big rail union turned down the deal, leading to a possible strike

The third-largest railroad union scrapped its deal with freight railroads on Monday – renewing the prospect of a strike that could cripple the economy – but before that happens, both sides will return to the bargaining table. .

About 56% of voting track maintenance workers represented by the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees’ Division union opposed the five-year contract, which included a 24% increase and $5,000 in bonuses. Union president Tony Cardwell said the railways had not done enough to address labor concerns about a lack of paid time off – particularly sick time – and that major railroads had lost nearly a third of their jobs in the past six years. After finishing demanded working conditions.

“Railroads are frustrated and upset by working conditions and compensation and low regard for their employer. Railroaders don’t feel valued,” Cardwell said in a statement. “They are angered by the fact that management shows no regard for their quality of life, especially evident from their stubborn unwillingness to provide the greater amount of paid time off for illness.”

Cardwell noted that membership turned up “record numbers,” indicating they are closely following the conversation.

The railways did not immediately comment on the declined contract.

Four other railroad unions that have ratified their agreements with freight railroads include BNSF, Union Pacific, Kansas City Southern, CSX and Norfolk Southern, but all 12 unions representing a total of 115,000 workers were called on to call off the strike. You have to confirm your contracts. Another union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, initially rejected its deal, but has since renegotiated a new contract. Voting will not be completed until mid-November.

President Joe Biden pressured railroads and unions to reach a deal last month before the mid-September deadline to allow a strike or walkout. Many businesses also urged Congress to intervene in the dispute and be prepared to halt the strike if an agreement is reached because so many companies rely on railroads to distribute their raw materials and finished products.

In general, unions agreed this summer to closely follow the recommendations of a special panel of arbitrators appointed by President Biden. That Presidential Emergency Board recommended what would be the largest increase seen by railroad workers in more than four decades, but it did not address unions’ concerns about working conditions. Instead, it said unions should pursue additional negotiations or arbitration with each railroad individually – a process that could take years.

The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way union said it agreed to delay any strike until five days after Congress reconvened in mid-November to allow time for additional talks.

At the end of these talks, issues of quality of life took center stage. Unions representing conductors and engineers are organized until the end to receive up to three unpaid leave a year for medical appointments, with the promise that the railroad is about to give those employees a regularly scheduled day off. Will chat where they are not on call. , Engineers and conductors have complained that strict railroad attendance policies make it difficult to take leave at any time.

Track maintenance workers at BMWED generally have more regular schedules than engineers and conductors, but all rail unions have objected to the lack of paid sick time in the industry – especially to keep trains running during the pandemic. After working for

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