President Joe Biden announced early Thursday morning that an agreement has been made between freight rail companies and unions, avoiding a potentially massive strike that was set for Friday.
Negotiations lasted around 20 hours, with Biden calling in at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday night, urging the negotiators to consider how a shutdown would hurt families and businesses, The Associated Press reports.
The White House announced just after 5 a.m. that the two sides had reached an agreement on better pay and work conditions.
What’s in the deal?
The Association of American Railroads announced that the new contracts would provide a 24% wage increase to rail employees over the five-year period from 2020 through 2024, as well as an $11,000 payout on average.
“These rail workers will get better pay, improved working conditions, and peace of mind around their health care costs: all hard-earned,” Biden said
“The agreement is also a victory for railway companies who will be able to retain and recruit more workers for an industry that will continue to be part of the backbone of the American economy for decades to come.”
Is there still a possibility of a strike?
The deal between union leaders and the rail companies will now go to union members to vote. While the vote is being tallied, workers have agreed not to strike, The New York Times reported.
If union members do not ratify the deal, there is still a possibility of a strike per CNN Business.