CSX Transportation has entered into agreements with four of its unions to provide additional sick leave for the employees they represent.
The issue of additional paid sick leave was the main point of contention that almost spurred union members to go on strike against the Class 1 freight railroad employers last December.
On Feb. 8, CSX announced that new agreements were reached with the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way (BMWED), which represents almost 4,000 engineering employees, and the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen, which represents more than 1,000 mechanical workers.
Two days later the railroad said similar agreements were entered into with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers. IAM represents about 700 CSX employees and NCFO represents the company’s utility workers (the total number is not known).
CSX President Joe Hinrichs commented, “We have a great respect for the work they do in service to our customers and the nation, and we will continue to partner with them and their representatives to ensure they have the best possible employment experience with our railroad.”
During last year’s labor contract negotiations, several unions’ members voted down a tentative agreement reached with the freight rail companies, over precisely this issue of sick leave, which almost led to a nationwide strike before Christmas that would have dealt a serious blow to the economy.
A compromise finally led to the eventual adoption of a new contract, but the rail union members remained angry over sick leave terms they believed continued to be inadequate to their needs.