Advertisement

U.S. Senate passes legislation to avert national rail strike -- without sick leave

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., announced a Senate deal on the Senate floor Thursday to expedite votes to avert a national rail strike. The House passed a bill to avert the strike Wednesday. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., announced a Senate deal on the Senate floor Thursday to expedite votes to avert a national rail strike. The House passed a bill to avert the strike Wednesday. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 1 (UPI) -- The U.S. Senate voted 80-15 Thursday for legislation that would avert a national railroad strike, but did not include paid sick leave sought by the workers in the legislation.

The measure requires railroad workers and companies to adhere to a tentative agreement that was brokered by the Biden administration earlier this year.

Advertisement

A national rail strike would deliver a heavy blow to the U.S. economy.

The vote was bogged down in negotiations until Senators reached an agreement to allow it to proceed.

RELATED House passes bill to avoid railroad strike

"We will have three votes," New York Senator Chuck Schumer told reporters after announcing the votes on the Senate floor. "First on the Sullivan resolution, just delaying everything for 60 days. Then on the seven-day sick day addition and then on the concurrent resolution final passage."

The House passed a bill to avert the rail strike Wednesday.

The House bill included a separate bill mandating paid sick leave for railroad workers, a key demand of unions that refused to ratify an agreement brokered earlier by the Biden administration that did not include the paid sick days.

RELATED Biden urges Congress to block rail strike that could 'devastate economy'

Unlike the House, the Senate rejected a measure that would have mandated seven days of paid sick leave for national railroad workers.

Advertisement

In a statement following the House vote, the Teamsters affiliated rail union BMWED-IBT urged its members to contact U.S. senators to demand they include the paid sick leave when the senate votes on the bill averting the strike.

"The BMWED applauds the representatives in Congress and any Senators that will stand in support of Railroad Workers receiving paid sick leave," BMWED-IBT's statement said.

"The additional legislation needs to pass so that Railroad Workers will have basic protections against illness, and protection from punishment from the railroads when Workers are most vulnerable."

The union said this should not be a political issue. It's an issue about protecting workers who ensure the nation's rail infrastructure and supply chain will function at its best.

BMWED-IBT said congressional representatives from both sides of the aisle should unanimously support paid sick days because it's good for railroads, for customers, the American economy and for the rail workers.

Without congressional action rail unions said they intended to strike Dec. 9. Guaranteed paid sick leave was a major issue.

Such a strike would have cost the U.S. economy an estimated $2 billion per day.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats. previously expressed his intent to hold up the legislation if it didn't mandate seven paid sick days for railroad workers.

Advertisement

"Let me be clear. The struggle is not over. I will do everything I can to make sure that rail workers in America are treated with dignity and respect," Sanders tweeted after Thursday's vote.

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement