Rail Strike: Senate Approves Deal but Blocks Paid Sick Leave for Workers
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.”
Featured Coverage of this Story
From the RightSenate Votes to Prevent Freight-Rail Strike, Defeats Sick-Leave Amendment
The Senate today passed a resolution from the House by a margin of 80-15 to adopt the tentative agreement that railroads and unions negotiated in September under the supervision of the White House. It will now go to President Biden for his signature.
In the absence of a deal, a nationwide freight-rail shutdown due to a strike or lockout would have been possible starting December 9. With passage of the resolution, the labor agreement based on the independent recommendations of the presidential emergency board, plus a few concessions on sick...
From the LeftSenate votes to avert freight rail strike that Biden warned would have triggered recession
A nationwide freight rail strike that President Joe Biden warned would have decimated the U.S. economy has been averted after the Senate voted overwhelmingly Thursday to impose a tentatively approved labor deal.
The vote was 80-15.
The legislation, which the House passed Wednesday, marked the first time in 30 years that Congress intervened to stop a rail strike. But Biden and bipartisan congressional leaders – reluctantly – said it was imperative the potentially crippling rail strike be prevented.
Biden told reporters Thursday morning a strike, which would have begun Dec. 9, would have triggered "a recession."
From the CenterSenate Votes To Avert Rail Strike—But Denies Railroad Workers’ Request For 7 Paid Sick Days
TOPLINE The Senate approved a new contract between railroad companies and labor unions on Thursday in a last-minute vote, ahead of a December 9 deadline that could trigger a nationwide railroad strike and severely hamstring the economy—but Senators rejected the unions’ demands for paid sick leave.
KEY FACTS The Senate voted 80-15 in favor of an agreement, which was brokered by the Biden Administration in September and includes a 24% raise through 2024.
In a separate 52-43 vote, the Senate rejected seven days of paid sick leave for rail workers,...