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Sick Leave

US Rail-Union Deal Showcases Labor Angst Extending Beyond Wages

  • Unions threatened to strike if deal didn’t revamp sick leave
  • Workers will ratify or reject the agreement in coming weeks
Edinburgh, Indiana, U.S.

Edinburgh, Indiana, U.S.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

The key issue that almost triggered the first US railroad strike in 30 years and threatened to hobble the economy wasn’t wages, but sick leave, highlighting broadening worker demands in a tight labor market.

Union leaders and railway companies agreed Thursday on a deal that includes language allowing workers to take time off for doctor appointments, hospitalization or surgeries, on top of a 24% wage hike over five years.