Negotiators have just hammered out a tentative deal to prevent a railway strike that could have devastated our economy.
All 13 railway unions in the U.S. have reached agreements with the railroads. News of the deal came just hours before a midnight deadline, preventing the first railway strike in 30 years.
Professor Allan Zarembski is the Director of Railway Engineering at The University of Delaware. He says the railway plays a major role in U.S. transport.
"If we were to look worldwide, we see railroads always playing a key role in the movement of passengers and movement of goods," Zarembski said.
The negotiations over a new contract begun nearly 3 years ago. Unions demanded raises, better attendance policies, vacation days and sick days.
"The recommendations of the Presidential Emergency Board looked at both sides and said ‘Yes, labor has a point, management has a point, and this is what we will recommend in-between,’" Zarembski said.
After 20 straight hours of negotiating, the new contracts give 24% pay increases through 2024, with a 14.1% wage increase effective immediately, and five annual $1,000 lump sum payments.
The new deal stopped a national rail strike that would have affected more than 60,000 railway employees, stopping more than 7,000 trains, and possibly costing the U.S. Economy up to $2 billion per day.
In a statement, Union Pacific, says in part: "All tentative agreements are subject to ratification by unions' memberships."