Headline RoundupDecember 1st, 2022

Rail Strike: Senate Approves Deal but Blocks Paid Sick Leave for Workers

AllSides Summary

The Senate voted 80-15 on Thursday to adopt a tentative rail agreement and avoid a holiday rail workers' strike — shortly after failing to overcome the 60-vote filibuster threshold for a bill that would have added seven days of paid sick leave for workers. 

Key Votes: 52 senators voted for the sick leave bill, including six Republicans. Supporters included Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), as well as prominent Republican Sens. Marco Rubio (Flo.), Ted Cruz (Texas), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), and Josh Hawley (Mo.). Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) was the sole Democrat to vote against the bill. President Joe Biden said he would sign the broader agreement as soon as he received it. 

For Context: While sick leave has been a particular point of contention for rail workers, who often spend long periods away from home, rail companies previously rejected the proposal. Before the vote, union leaders said the sick leave bill would impact their members’ election choices in 2024. The president of the Brotherhood of Maintenance Way Employes Division noted Democrats’ support, saying, “If Republicans are bold enough to step out, stand with labor, stand with the blue-collar workers, and vote with our members, then it’s likely that they can gain votes as well.” 

How the Media Covered It: Coverage was widespread and generally similar across the spectrum. Headlines often emphasized the danger of a potential rail strike with adjectives like “crippling.”

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