CSX – On Tuesday, two railroad unions and the freight train company CSX Transportation were able to come to an agreement on paid sick leave.
In the end, the company opted to provide 5,000 CSX union members with paid sick days.
The two unions’ names are as follows:
- The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division (BMWED), which represents engineers
- The Brotherhood of Railway Carmen (BRC), which represents mechanical workers.
Joe Hinrichs, president and chief executive officer of CSX, made the announcement, saying:
“CSX is committed to listening to our railroaders and working with their representatives to find solutions that improve the quality of life and experience as employees.”
“These agreements demonstrate that commitment and are a direct result of the collaborative relationship we are working to cultivate with all of the unions that represent CSX employees.”
According to a contract between the two unions and the company, workers are entitled to four fully compensated sick days per year.
The ability of members to take three days of personal leave for ill days was also underlined by the two unions.
Don Grissom, president of the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen, went on to provide further details on the agreement:
“We are extremely proud that BRC is one of the very first unions to reach this type of an agreement.”
“This agreement is a significant accomplishment and provides a very important benefit for our members working at CSXT.”
“The other carriers should take note and come to the bargaining table in a similar manner.”
The deal paves the way for employees to pay themselves out of their 401(k) or contribute any unused sick time to it, according to the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division.
Additionally, Tony D. Cardwell, president of BMWED, discussed the deal.
“The other Class I railroads just reported extremely healthy earnings for 2022, many of which were record setting, and the Workers are the people responsible for those profits,” said Cardwell.
“Other than absolute greed, there is no reason why the other Class I railroads cannot enter into an identical paid sick leave Agreement with BMWED, or any other Rail Union for that matter, especially in light of what CSX and the BMWED have done today.”
2022 contract negotiation
During contract discussions last year, twelve unions and US freight railways were unable to come to an agreement on paid sick time.
The heated debate nearly led to a walkout by tens of thousands of railway employees.
In order to persuade eight unions to support the draft deal, the Biden administration intervened and entered into discussions last year.
At the time, it was opposed by four unions.
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The railroads and the unions returned to the negotiation table, but the prospect of a strike ended the discussions.
The unions’ initial proposal for 10 sick days was finally lowered to four.
However, the railroad firms are said to have rejected the unions’ offer.
Congress was forced to intervene in order to impose the deal on the four unions after the rejection.
As a result, it averted a catastrophic economic crisis, but it also dashed workers’ hopes for paid sick leave.
A new frontier
A new era for American freight train companies is ushered in by the CSX deal with BMWED and BRC.
The company asserts that it will continue to analyze the contracts with the other ten unions.
Currently, only three important freight railroads exist without a sick leave policy:
- Norfolk Southern
- Union Pacific
Last week, a train operated by Norfolk Southern derailed close to East Palestine, Ohio, resulting in a horrible disaster in Norfolk.
The railroad was transporting vinyl chloride, a potentially hazardous material, in 20 carriages.
Due to the incident, local residents were compelled to abandon their homes while personnel battled to put out the fire and limit the potential leak.
By Tuesday of this week, almost every car that had chemical breaches had been ejected from the area.
There is now just one car left nearby.
The conductor and engineer of the train were unscathed.
Image source: Union Pacific