Biggest U.S. Rail Union Digs in on Paid Sick Time
Their behavior is raising the threat of a strike
Workers at the largest U.S. rail union voted against a tentative contract deal reached in September, raising the possibility of a year-end strike that could cause significant damage to the U.S. economy and strand vital shipments of food and fuel.
Train and engine service members of the transportation division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART-TD) narrowly voted to reject the deal. That unit, which includes conductors, brakemen and other workers, joins three other unions in rejecting a deal brokered via a board appointed by U.S. President Joe Biden.
"There's a lot of anger about paid sick leave among the membership" who kept goods flowing during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic and want ongoing accolades, said Seth Harris, a professor at Northeastern University.
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