The House of Representatives passed a measure Wednesday to avert a rail strike, voting on a bill that would bind companies and workers to a September settlement proposal that was rejected by four of the 12 labor unions involved in negotiations.
The bill would impose a compromise labor agreement brokered by the Biden Administration. It provides for 24% raises and $5,000 in bonuses retroactive to 2020 along with one additional paid leave day.
Workers would have to pay a larger share of their health insurance costs, but their premiums would be capped at 15% of the total insurance cost.
The House also voted to approve an additional seven days of paid sick leave to rail workers.
An agreement must be reached by a December 9 deadline. Otherwise, a rail strike could potentially impact one-third of all U.S. freight, and it could cause gas prices to soar again because many fuel-related products like sulfur and ethanol are transported by rail.
The House measure passed by a vote of 290-137. It now heads to the Senate. If it passes in that chamber, President Biden will sign it; he has urged the Senate to act swiftly.