Senate Votes to Impose Rail Contract, Rejects Measure Granting Workers 7 Paid Sick Days

The U.S. Senate voted Thursday to pass a resolution imposing a contract on freight rail workers but rejected a concurrent measure that would give workers seven guaranteed paid sick days.

H.J. Resolution 100 passed the Senate by a margin of 80-15, surpassing the 60-vote threshold. The Biden Administration brokered a tentative deal in August between the unions and carriers, but rank-and-file members of four of the twelve unions in the deal rejected it. Paid sick leave for workers was a central hold-up to the deal moving forward.

On Monday, Biden called on Congress to impose the worker-rejected contract to avoid a national strike that would have begun on December 9 and would have carried substantial economic ramifications.

The resolution passed the Senate Thursday after voting against a concurrent resolution that would guarantee union members seven days of paid sick leave, which narrowly advanced from the House of Representatives on Wednesday. The legislation needed 60 votes but only received 52.

Among those who supported the concurrent resolution were six Republicans, induing Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Ted Cruz (R-FL), Lindsay Graham (R-SC), and Mike Braun (R-IN), and John Kennedy (R-LA), as Fox News Radio’s Ryan Schmelz noted

“If DC Republicans want to be a working class party, they might want to do something for workers. Just a thought,” Hawley tweeted.

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“Congress should have sent everyone back to the negotiating table, but instead it told rail workers to suck it up and be grateful,” Rubio said in a statement. “If we had to get involved, we should have worked to meet the demands of the workers instead of appeasing labor leaders and companies.”

“Because the truth is that the companies risked a nationwide shutdown of freight rail because they wouldn’t give their workers any paid sick days,” Rubio added. 

Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) introduced an amendment aimed at implementing a 60-day cooling-off period for unions and companies. It was rejected by a vote of 69-26.

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