Plan for rail contract deal doesn't address concerns: union

video

FOX Business Flash top headlines for August 18

Check out what’s clicking on FoxBusiness.com.

The head of the nation's largest railroad union is pushing back against a report designed to help get stalled contract talks moving that he says doesn't do enough about working conditions.

The railroads indicated earlier this week that they were ready to work on a deal based on the recommendations of the Presidential Emergency Board that President Biden appointed last month. 

The proposal calls for 115,000 rail workers to get 24% raises and thousands of dollars in bonuses.

Based on the union comments, the workers may not be ready to sign off.

A BNSF Railway Company train is parked in Seattle. The head of the nation’s largest railroad union says the report designed to help resolve stalled contract talks with freight railroads didn’t do enough to address concerns about working conditions ev ((AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File) / AP Newsroom)

Federal law would allow a strike or lockout, if the two sides can't agree on a new deal by mid-September.

PLAN TO GET RAILROAD CONTRACT DISPUTE MOVING INVOLVES 24% RAISES

Congress is expected to step in at that point to keep the supply chain moving.

A railroad strike could devastate businesses that rely on Union Pacific, BNSF, Norfolk Southern, CSX and other major freight railroads to deliver raw materials and ship their products.

A Union Pacific train travels through Union, Neb.  ((AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File) / AP Newsroom)

The recommendations of the advisory board were a "vast improvement" over the railroads’ previous proposals, said Jeremy Ferguson, president of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers — Transportation Division union that represents conductors. But, he added, "the recommendations do not go far enough to provide our members with the quality of life that they have earned, and that both they and their families deserve."

UNION PACIFIC SECOND QUARTER PROFIT IMPROVES AS RAILROAD DELIVERY DELAYS ARE REDUCED

The other 11 unions involved in the contract talks haven't yet commented on the details. 

Ferguson's comments echo some of the concerns individual railroad workers have been posting online since the report was released Tuesday.

A BNSF railroad train hauling carloads of coal from the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming is seen east of Hardin, Mont. ( (AP Photo/Matthew Brown, File) / AP Newsroom)

Another key sticking point in the negotiations has been the railroads' proposal to cut train crews from two people down to one. The unions firmly oppose that move – not just to protect jobs – but also because they say they are concerned about safety.

The railroads maintain that they don't need as many employees and locomotives as they used to because they overhauled their operations to run fewer, longer trains.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ON FOX BUSINESS

The group that negotiates on behalf of the major railroads, the National Carriers Conference Committee, said the recommended deal would deliver the biggest raises in decades and push average railroad salaries up to $110,000 a year by the end of the five-year deal.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Read Full Article