Plan to get railroad contract dispute moving involves 24% raises

A plan to help get stalled railroad contract talks moving contains a proposal of raises and bonuses.

The plan was put forth by a board appointed by President Biden in an attempt to avert a strike.

The proposal calls for 115,000 rail workers to get 24% raises and thousands of dollars in bonuses.

Railroads and unions will include those recommendations in a new round of negotiations over the next month.

BNSF Railroad is among Berkshire's holdings

A BNSF freight train with 76 container cars and FedEx freight trailers travels from Seattle to points east. ((Photo by William Campbell/Getty Images)/Getty Images)

Federal law would allow a strike or lockout, if the two sides can’t agree on a new deal by mid-September.

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Congress is expected to step in at that point to keep the supply chain moving.

A railroad strike could devastate businesses that rely on Union Pacific, BNSF, Norfolk Southern, CSX and other major freight railroads to deliver raw materials and ship their products.

Union Pacific is one of the railroads involved in talks

A Union Pacific train travels through Union, Neb. ((AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)/AP Newsroom)

The report was distributed to the parties on Tuesday, and The Associated Press obtained a copy of it, but the railroads and the unions didn’t immediately comment on any details.

The railroads entered the Presidential Emergency Board process a month ago far apart from the 12 unions taking part.

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A total of 12 unions are involved and have been seeking a 31% raise over the five years while the railroads were offering only 17% in compounded raises.

A BNSF train pulls out of yard

FILE- A BNSF rail terminal worker monitors the departure of a freight train, on June 15, 2021, in Galesburg, Ill. The special board appointed by President Biden to intervene in the stalled railroad contract talks submitted its recommendations to the ((AP Photo/Shafkat Anowar, File)/AP Newsroom)

The unions are also concerned about rising health care costs in a new contract.

Besides the wage increase and bonuses, the report recommends adding an additional paid day off each year and keeping the same health insurance plan, but having workers take on a larger share of the cost.

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Railroad workers have gone without a raise since 2019.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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