Freight railroads, some unions reach contract deals covering 15,000 U.S. workers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Unions and freight railroads said on Monday they reached contractual agreements covering 15,000 workers after U.S. President Joe Biden appointed an emergency board to help reach agreements.

The National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC), which represents US freight railroads in national labor negotiations, said agreements have been reached with the Transportation Communications Union/IAM, the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen and the Association International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers representing more than 15,000 railway employees.

The agreement implements the recommendations of the presidential council.

The railroad division of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) said the 24% compound pay increase on the five-year contract would be the biggest on record if ratified.

On August 16, the emergency council tasked with helping major freight railways and unions break the deadlock in contract talks proposed annual wage increases of 3% and 7% from 2020 to 2024. , a compound increase of 24%. The board also recommended five annual bonuses of $1,000 and an additional paid day off.

“We fought side by side against the carriers’ attack on wages and health care benefits,” IAM’s Josh Hartford said in a statement.

Talks between 30 major freight railroads, including Union Pacific, BNSF and Berkshire Hathaway-owned CSX, and unions representing 115,000 workers have dragged on for more than two years.

Nine of the 12 unions have not yet concluded contractual agreements.

Biden appointed the three-member presidential emergency council in July to reduce transportation disruptions that are fueling inflation and threatening food and fuel supplies.

Rail service at major U.S. seaports has suffered recently due to spreading supply chain issues and labor and equipment shortages.

Under the Railway Labor Act, carriers and unions remain in a 30-day cooling-off period that expires just after midnight ET on September 16.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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