Salem Radio Network News Tuesday, October 3, 2023


Most unionized US rail workers now have new sick leave

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – More than 60% of U.S. unionized railroad workers at major railroads are now are covered by new sick leave agreements, a trade group said Monday.

Last year railroads came under fire for not agreeing to paid sick leave during labor negotiations.

In December, President Joe Biden signed legislation to block a national U.S. railroad strike that could have devastated the American economy after some unions voted against the deal over a lack of paid sick leave.

“For months, railroads have been at the table individually with their unions to find a path forward on the quality-of-life matters that came into the spotlight during the round’s final days,” Association of American Railroads CEO Ian Jefferies said.

“Not all of these agreements are the same. However, they are the result of good faith bargaining and a shared desire to demonstrate the value rail employees provide to their companies, their families and the overall economy.”

Norfolk Southern and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers -Transportation Division (SMART-TD) said Monday they reached an agreement that immediately provides nearly 300 yardmasters with four new days of paid sick leave per year while also offering flexibility to use up to three additional days of existing paid time off as sick leave.

Norfolk Southern said all of its unionized workers are now covered by sick leave agreements.

Also on Monday, Union Pacific reached an agreement with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) to provide paid sick leave to for its 5,600 locomotive engineers.

Under the agreement effective Aug. 1, members will have up to seven paid days of sick leave. Five days will be considered paid sick days with the ability to convert two additional paid leave days for use as paid sick time.

(Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Nathan Gomes in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Stephen Coates)


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