Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Biden Takes Credit for Rail Workers’ Sick Leave, Despite Fighting Against It

'These agreements demonstrate that commitment and are a direct result of the collaborative relationship we are working to cultivate with all of the unions...'

(Molly Bruns, Headline USA) Just weeks after fighting against paid sick leave for freight workers and imposing an agreement without any paid time off onto the workers via Congress, the Biden administration is taking credit for the union’s successful negotiation.

According to the Daily Wire, CSX, a rail company based out of Florida, announced a deal that provides four days of paid sick leave and three personal days to two different union groups.

The Biden administration initially proposed a deal that did not include paid leave. Several large unions across the country rejected this proposal, specifically citing the lack of paid time off for illness.

President Joe Biden pushed lawmakers to pass the deal without making any adjustments, and Congress acquiesced.

“[T]he president signed a bill in December that averted a rail disruption and ensured union members would receive the 24% pay raise in their tentative agreements,” White House press secretary Karine Jean–Pierre told reporters in a briefing. “When signing this bill, the president committed to continuing the fight to secure paid sick leave for all workers, including rail workers.”

Jean–Pierre emphasized the involvement of the president in the negotiation and ensured reporters that other rail companies will be quickly arranging deals like the one CSX struck.

The unions—known as Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way, which represents train engineers, and the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen, which represents mechanics—both took the deal. Both the company and the unions expressed gratitude for the negotiations and eventual agreement.

“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,” the company said in a statement. “We greatly appreciate the leadership of the BMWED and BRC in working towards these agreements.”

White House officials were in contact with CSX before the announcement went public. Secretary of Labor Martin Walsh, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and National Economic Counsel Director Brian Deese all had phone calls with higher-ups at CSX—as well as other train companies such as Union Pacific, BNSF and Norfolk Southern.

In all of these respective negotiations, the Biden officials reportedly pushed the deals that would not involve paid sick leave for the rail workers.

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