Railroad companies and workers unions reached a tentative labor agreement early Thursday, avoiding a strike that threatened to disrupt shipments of commodities and goods around the country, the White House announced.
"The hard work done to reach this tentative agreement means that our economy can avert the significant damage any shutdown would have brought," President Joe Biden said in a statement.
Tentative agreements have been reached with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers Transportation Division, and the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, according to a press release from the Association of American Railroads. The unions represent about 60,000 employees.
"The tentative agreements reached with these unions avert a potential strike in advance of Friday’s deadline," the association said.
The National Grain and Feed Association, in a press release, commended the railroads and unions for "working in good faith toward an agreement and preventing severe economic damage."
New contracts provide rail employees a 24% wage increase during the five-year period from 2020 through 2024, including an immediate payout on average of $11,000 upon ratification, following the recommendations of the Presidential Emergency Board, the railroad association said. The agreements are subject to ratification by the unions’ membership.
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