Senate Passes Bill Averting Nationwide Strike By Freight Rail Workers

By Bill Galluccio

December 1, 2022

U.S. Senate Votes On Amendments To Inflation Reduction Act Over The Weekend
Photo: Getty Images

The Senate has voted in favor of a bill that would avert a December 9 nationwide strike by freight rail workers. The bill previously passed the House on Tuesday (November 30) and imposes a September agreement broked by the White House between freight carriers and several unions representing the workers.

Before voting on the final bill, two votes were held on amendments. The first vote would have extended A "cooling off period" to give both sides an extra 60 days to keep negotiating. That amendment failed by a 26-69 vote.

The second amendment would have increased the number of paid sick days from one to seven. That was voted down 43-52.

The negotiations between the nation's freight carriers and 12 workers' unions had mixed results. While several of the unions backed the recent deal, four of the unions, including the largest rail union in the country, rejected the proposed contract.

The unions that voted in favor of the new contract have said they would not cross the picket lines if other unions decided to strike. A nationwide rail strike during the Holiday season could have severe economic consequences, costing the country about $2 billion a day in lost economic output.

The bill now heads to President Joe Biden's desk.

"We're going to avoid the rail strike, keep the rails running, keep things moving, and we're gonna go back, and we're gonna get paid leave not just for rail workers, but for all workers," Biden said during a press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron at the White House before the vote.

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