CSX Transportation announced Tuesday that it has reached an agreement with two railroad unions regarding paid sick leave.
The contract between CSX and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division, which represents engineers, and the Brotherhood of Railroad Carmen, which represents mechanical workers, sickened 5,000 union members employed by CSX. Will provide compensation with leave.
“CSX is committed to listening to our railroads and working with their representatives to find solutions that improve their quality of life and the employee experience,” said CSX President and Chief Executive Officer Joe Hinrichs. “These agreements demonstrate that commitment and are a direct result of the collaboration we are working to foster with all unions that represent CSX employees.”
The contract provides for four days of paid sick leave per year. on full salary. It also allows members to use up to three personal vacation days for sick leave, both unions said.
“We are very proud that BRC is one of the first unions to reach this type of agreement,” said BRC President Don Grissom. “This agreement is a significant achievement and provides a very significant benefit for our members working at CSXT. Other carriers should take note and come to the bargaining table as well.
According to the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division, or BMWED, the agreement allows employees to contribute or pay for unused paid sick time to their 401k.
“Other Class I railroads just reported very healthy earnings for 2022, many of which set records, and workers are responsible for those gains,” said BMWED President Tony D. Cardwell. ” “Except for sheer greed, there is no reason why other Class I railroads could not enter into a similar paid sick leave agreement with the BMWED, or any other railroad union for that matter, especially in light of what CSX and BMWED have done that today.”
Paid sick time was a sticking point in last year’s contract negotiations between 12 railroad unions and U.S. Freight Railroads that sent nearly tens of thousands of railroad workers on strike.
Eight unions voted to accept a tentative deal on unpaid sick leave negotiated by the Biden administration, while four rejected it. Those unions and the railroad returned to the negotiating table but remained stalled and on the brink of a strike. The unions initially demanded ten paid sick days – reducing their request to four. However, the unions said the railway companies would not accept their offer.
That forced Congress to vote to impose the contract on the remaining four unions — preventing a crippling economic fallout but ending any hope of paid sick leave for workers.
CSX’s decision sets a new precedent for American freight railroad companies. CSX says it will continue to use contracts with the remaining 10 unions. Three other major freight railroads — Union Pacific, BNSF and Norfolk Southern — do not currently offer sick leave.
Last week, a Norfolk Southern train carrying 20 cars of vinyl chloride derailed in East Palestine, Ohio. The potentially explosive chemical forced residents to evacuate their homes, as crews struggled to contain the fire and a possible leak. As of Tuesday, all but one car that leaked the chemical has been removed from the area. The conductor and engineer driving the train were not injured.
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