Rail unions reject White House deal, as December 9 strike deadline approaches

Threat of crippling rail strike before the holidays: Unions representing 57,000 workers REJECT White House proposal and brings US closer to December 9 walkout that could cost $2billion a day

  • SMART TD, which represents 36,000 workers, rejected the new deal on Monday 
  • BLET, which represents 24,000, said it would join a December 6 picket line if a deal isn’t reached
  • The Association of American Railroads previously estimated that a strike could cost the US $2billion a day
  • The workers are mostly protesting sickness policies and attendance rules 
  • Seven of 12 unions have voted in favor of the deal, but all must agree in order to avoid a strike  

One of the country’s largest rail unions has rejected a White House proposal, increasing the likelihood of a crippling strike just before the holidays. 

SMART Transportation Division, which represents 36,000 of the country’s rail workers, rejected the deal on Monday morning in an ongoing dispute over sickness and attendance policies. 

BLET, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, has 24,000 members and voted to ratify the deal but said it would join the picket line with SMART if they continue to refuse the new terms. 

‘We stood shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters in SMART-TD and others in rail labor throughout this process and we will continue to stand in solidarity with them as we approach the finish line in this round of negotiation,’ Union President Dennis Pierce said,. 

Combined, it means 57,000 workers would walk on December 6. That accounts for over half of the country’s rail workers. 

The Association of American Railroads previously estimated that a strike could cost the US $2billion a day.  

The Association of American Railroads previously estimated that a strike could cost the US $2billion a day

The Association of American Railroads previously estimated that a strike could cost the US $2billion a day

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