Biden announces tentative railway labor agreement to avert strike

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Tank cars filled with oil are seen in storage at the BNSF Railway Company’s Watson Yard in Wilmington, California, U.S. on Tuesday, April 21, 2020.
Bing Guan | Bloomberg | Getty Images

President Joe Biden announced a tentative railway labor deal early Thursday, a last-minute agreement that averts a national rail strike.

The agreement would improve rail workers pay, working conditions, and give them “peace of mind around their health care costs,” Biden said in a statement.

The new contracts provide rail employees a 24% wage increase during the five-year period from 2020 through 2024, including an immediate payout on average of $11,000 upon ratification, according to the Association of American Railroads. All tentative agreements are subject to ratification by the unions’ membership.

Tentative agreements have been reached with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers – Transportation Division, and the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, which collectively represent approximately 60,000 employees, the Association of American Railroads said in a press release.

“I thank the unions and rail companies for negotiating in good faith and reaching a tentative agreement that will keep our critical rail system working and avoid disruption of our economy,” Biden said in a statement.

Negotiators from railroad carriers and unions met in Labor Secretary Marty Walsh’s office Wednesday as the sides tried to negotiate a deal ahead of Friday’s strike deadline.

— CNBC’s Lori Ann LaRocco contributed to this report.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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