OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – CSX Railroad has promised to give more of its workers the paid sick time they requested in contract negotiations last fall.
CSX is the only major freight railroad that has so far agreed to give sick time to its employees following contentious negotiations last year that ended only after Congress stepped in to prevent a potential strike.
The Jacksonville, Fla.-based railroad said Friday it has reached a settlement with two of its unions, days after announcing a deal with a pair of other unions.
CSX said about 500 members of the International Association of Automotive and Aerospace Workers and the National Conference of Firefighters and Oilers, which represent the company’s utility workers, will soon take four sick days. Workers can also convert three of their personal leave days into sick days to give them seven days.
The automakers union said workers will be paid for any unused sick time at the end of each year, or they can add the value of those days to their 401k retirement accounts.
CSX CEO Joe Hinrichs is trying to repair his relationship with the workforce after bitter contract negotiations, and these sick time agreements are a step in that direction. He said giving sick time shows how much the railroad values its employees.
“We have great respect for the work they do in service to our customers and our nation, and we will work with them and their representatives to ensure they have the best possible employment experience with our railroad,” Hinrichs said in a statement. .
Unions said they would press other major freight railroads for similar deals.
“Our strength and solidarity made the case to shippers, politicians and the general public that we deserve sick leave,” said Josh Hartford, of the union’s railroad division. “We are now seeing the results of years of advocacy by our union and many others on this important issue.”
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