Congress used the 1926 Railway Labor Act to invoke their authority to intervene in railroad labor negotiations. The House approved legislation to force union members to accept the terms of the negotiated contract. Once passed by the Senate, the bill will head to the President’s desk for signature.
This legislation avoids a railroad workers strike that would have been devastating to the US economy.
Railroad workers have been operating without a contract since 2020. The contract covers 115,000 union members across twelve separate unions. The parties have been observing a cooling-off period until December 9th. During this period, the union is barred from striking.
The two sides came to a tentative agreement increasing wages by 24% between 2020 and 2024 as well as additional time off. However, only eight of the twelve unions’ members voted to ratify the contract. The remaining four unions voted against ratification.
This legislation is the 18th time since the 1960’s that government has intervened in railroad labor disputes.