The Biden administration has praised its own efforts after a major freight carrier granted paid sick days to workers, following its own attempts to end the negotiations just a few months prior.
An announcement by Rail company CSX Tuesday revealed that the company would give four days of paid sick leave and three personal days for around 5,000 workers.
“CSX is committed to listening to our railroaders and working with their representatives to find solutions that improve their quality of life and experience as employees,” read a statement by the company. “These agreements demonstrate that commitment and are a direct result of the collaborative relationship we are working to cultivate with all of the unions that represent CSX employees. We greatly appreciate the leadership of the BMWED and BRC in working towards these agreements.”
Biden administration officials are claiming that their advocacy was instrumental in securing the deal.
“[T]he president signed a bill in December that averted a rail disruption and ensured union members would receive the 24 percent pay raise in their tentative agreements,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre claimed when speaking aboard Air Force One. “When signing this bill, the president committed to continuing the fight to secure paid sick leave for all workers, including rail workers.”
“These agreements came following continued advocacy and involvement from the Biden administration, pushing railroad leadership to reach an agreement that secured paid sick leave for workers, which continues to be a priority for President Biden,” continued Jean-Pierre. “[T]he agreements between CSX, BMWE, and BRC to provide paid sick days are good steps, ensuring no covered worker has to risk their income to take a day off when they are sick. Securing paid sick leave for rail workers will continue to be a priority for the president. And we are strongly urging other rail companies to follow suit.”
Jean-Pierre left out one crucial detail: the original agreement did not include the requested illness days.
As some may already know, Biden previously signed a bill in Dec. 2022 that made it illegal for railroad workers to strike, preventing a continuation of their hardline negotiation seeking more sick days. There was still zero semblance of an agreement reached at the time.
BREAKING: President Joe Biden has signed a bill preventing a potential railroad strike.
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— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) December 2, 2022
Some offered harsh criticism for Biden’s move at the time, including Sen.Josh Hawley (R-MO), who blasted Biden and the Senate alike for not allowing railroad workers “more than one day of sick leave.”