Deal won’t resolve quality-of-life issues, rail workers say

President Joe Biden signed a bill on Dec. 2 to block a strike and force rail workers to accept the agreements union leaders made in September, but railroad workers say they will still have to make tradeoffs between family and their own health needs, according to an article by the Associated Press.

Congressional action preceded the president’s signature, even though four of the 12 rail unions — which include a majority of rail workers — voted to reject the deals the Biden administration negotiated. While rail workers will receive 24% raises and $5,000 bonuses under the five-year deal, workers and their unions say the deal didn’t do enough to address their quality-of-life concerns and didn’t add any sick days.

To avert what could have been an economically devastating work stoppage, business groups had been urging Biden to intervene for weeks, and both houses of Congress finally did, sending a bill to the president’s desk. However, union leaders say their bargaining position was undermined because railroad companies knew Congress would intervene.

Related story: Congress vows to prevent rail strike