Every member of Congress from Iowa voted this week to force a five-year contract on the freight rail industry, as President Joe Biden had requested to avert a possible strike on December 9. It was the first time since the 1990s that Congress exercised its power to intervene in national rail disputes.
Four unions representing tens of thousands of rail workers had rejected the tentative agreement, which U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh helped negotiate in September. The main sticking point was the lack of paid sick leave. Instead,
The deal gave workers a 24% raise over five years, an additional personal day and caps on health care costs. It also includes some modifications to the railroads’ strict attendance policies, allowing workers to attend to medical needs without facing penalties for missing work.