Supply Chain Crisis Averted: Rail Agreement Reached

Details & Next Steps

The White House announced this morning that an agreement has been reached between the railroads and unions, averting a possible strike. Additional details about the agreement continue to come to light.
Following this morning's announcement, the agreement will go to union members for a vote after a post-ratification cooling off period of several weeks. The vote date(s) have reportedly not yet been set.
The tentative agreement would be retroactive to 2020 and includes the pay increases from the Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) recommendations: compounded 24% raises (including an immediate 14% raise) over a five year period, and annual $1,000 bonuses totaling $5,000. Back pay plus bonuses would reportedly represent and average payout of $11,000 per person upon ratification.
But scheduling and attendance matters had been the more contentious issues in the final days. The tentative agreement addresses such issues (which had largely been intentionally left out of the PEB recommendations), including:
  • Additional paid days off (voluntary assigned day and one additional day off per month)
  • Unpaid time away from work for doctor/medical care (without penalization in points systems adopted by some railroads such as BNSF and Union Pacific)
  • Attendance policy exemptions for hospitalization and other medical issues
  • Protection against implementation of scheduling/crew policies the unions opposed
  • No increases to insurance copays and deductibles
The agreements now go to membership for approval—which is not necessarily a foregone conclusion. In the past year, unions in other industries have rejected tentative agreements made by their leadership, including strikes at companies like Kellogg and John Deere.

Related statements:

  1. National Carriers' Conference Committee (railroads' negotiators) statement
  2. American Association of Railroads (AAR) statement
  3. Joint statement from the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers, Transportation Division (SMART-TD) and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET)
  4. RILA statement
RILA will continue to monitor and will share details with RILA members as they develop. Please reach out to Vice President of Supply Chain Jess Dankert for more information.
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