By a vote of 80-15, the U.S. Senate passed legislation to avoid a looming national rail strike.
The Senate passage follows on the heels of the House, which on Wednesday voted to avert the rail worker walkout that could have happened on December 9, imposing a compromise labor agreement brokered by the Biden Administration back in September. It includes 24% raises and $5,000 in bonuses retroactive to 2020. The House also agreed to workers’ request for seven days of paid sick leave.
The Senate, however, failed to pass the House’s paid sick leave measure in its provision.
Thursday morning, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) had vowed to affirm the deal, saying the Senate “cannot leave” until the legislation was passed.
President Biden has promised to sign the bill.
A rail strike would have been an economic disaster right in the middle of the holiday shopping and travel season, as the nation’s rails are responsible for the transport of one-third of all U.S. freight. A rail shutdown would have aggravated inflation and supply chain issues—not least of all causing gas prices to soar again because many fuel products like sulfur and ethanol are transported by rail.