U.S. President Joe Biden Thursday applauded the tentative agreement reached between major railroads and workers’ unions regarding wages and improved working conditions, likely avoiding a nationwide rail strike.
The Biden administration announced the agreement in the pre-dawn hours Thursday after 20 hours of negotiations brokered by Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, the railway companies and the unions.
The agreement still must be ratified by the union membership.
During a brief ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, Biden called the tentative pact a win for both sides and a “win for America.”
He said the rail workers will see a 24% wage increase over the next five years, a cap on health care costs and better working conditions.
He said the deal is also a win for the rail companies because it will enable them to retain and recruit more workers in an industry that will continue to be part of the backbone of the nation’s economy for generations to come.
Biden also thanked workers and the railroad companies for their work through the COVID-19 pandemic to make sure U.S. “communities got deliveries of what have kept us going during these difficult years.”
The tentative agreement seeks to head off a strike that could have begun as early as Friday.
Source: Voice of America