Railroad unions pressure Senate on sick leave after close House vote

Railroad unions that opposed a labor agreement brokered by the Biden administration are pressing the Senate to amend that deal to include seven paid sick days for rail workers after the House just barely agreed to that addition in a narrow vote.

The House easily passed legislation Wednesday to implement the labor deal that some unions rejected, a move that will require all unions to abide by that agreement and make it illegal for them to strike. Dozens of Republicans joined Democrats in that vote to mandate the labor deal, which would retroactively give rail workers a 24% pay raise and boost their health care benefits.

Railroad unions still opposed to that deal

Are also seeking more time off for health reasons. In a nod to that demand, the House also passed legislation tweaking the deal to give them seven paid sick days. But that vote was much closer, 221-207, and just three Republicans supported that language.

That has Railroad unions worried that Republicans may not support language on sick days, and that it may not get the 60 votes need to pass the Senate. While the Senate expected to pass the main agreement, senators on Wednesday offer no indication how the separate vote might go on sick leave.

As a result, unions are working overtime to lobby the Senate.

“We absolutely are calling every Senate office,

” Clark Ballew, communications director for the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (BMWED), told FOX Business. “All 23,000 of our members are calling their U.S. senators to urge them and implore them to add sick leave to this contract.”

BMWED one of the four Railroad unions to oppose the original labor deal and spearheading efforts to get the sick leave language approv in the Senate. Ballew said the group is working with other unions that opposed the deal and said senior leaders of those unions are in Washington now lobbying the Senate.

“The BMWED applauds the representatives in Congress and any senators that will stand in support of railroad workers receiving paid sick leave,” the group said on its site. “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.”

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