INFO ALERT: Rail strike averted after business leaders push to resolve labor stalemate

Posted September 15th, 2022 | Status:

Freight railroads and unions have reached a tentative agreement, averting a rail strike that would have snarled the nation’s supply chain and cost an estimated $2 billion a day. It’s the headline we were hoping for after monitoring marathon labor negotiations, Amtrak cancellations, and myriad business impacts with bated breath – but we’re not breathing a sigh of relief just yet.

The deal isn’t final until members of the 12 railroad unions vote to ratify it, which could take several weeks. A timeline for ratification votes hasn’t been announced yet. Here’s what we’ve learned about the tentative five-year agreement, which runs through 2024 and includes total wage increases of about 24% for rail workers.

  • Retroactive deal with back pay beginning in 2019.
  • 14.1% wage increase upon ratification.
  • 4% wage increase in July 2023.
  • 4.5% wage increase in July 2024.
  • Five annual $1,000 lump sum payments.
  • Voluntary assigned days off and one additional paid day off.

In a statement this morning, President Joe Biden said the deal “will keep our critical real system working and avoid disruptions of our economy.”

He also called the agreement “a victory for railway companies who will be able to retain and recruit more workers for an industry that will continue to be part of the backbone of the American economy for decades to come.”

The terms of the agreement align closely with a presidential panel proposal that business groups urged Congress to implement (or extend the negotiation window to reach a compromise) in a joint release issued yesterday by BizFed. We want to thank the following BizFed members for acting swiftly and decisively with us to craft this joint statement calling for sensible Congressional action to protect American businesses, workers, and consumers.

California Business Roundtable
California Retailers Association
Long Beach Area Chamber
Los Angeles Area Chamber
San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership

Onward! Let’s keep people and goods moving!

BizFed Founding CEO