There will be no rail strike in the U.S. on Friday as the key unions and negotiators for the railroads have reached a tentative agreement.
The Association for American Railroads announced early Thursday morning that tentative agreements had been reached with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers – Transportation Division, and the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen. It was those unions, representing approximately 66,000 workers, that had yet to come to terms with the National Carriers Conference Committee representing the railroads.
Other unions representing a smaller contingent of workers had reached agreement earlier. But the unions that agreed overnight were the largest group of employees still without a deal.
If a nationwide rail strike had occurred, it would have been the first in more than 30 years. It also threatened to cost the U.S. $2 billion in lost economic output every day.
The Friday deadline was the result of an earlier cooling off period declared by the Biden administration in July. That period was to end Friday.
According to the AAR statement, the deal will give employees a 24% wage increase over five years between 2020 and 2024, and an $11,000 payout to each union member upon ratification, which is still required.
In a statement Thursday, President Biden called the agreement “an important win.”
“These rail workers will get better pay, improved working conditions, and peace of mind around their health care costs: all hard-earned,” he said.