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February 9, 2023 / Updated July 25, 2023
Updated Feb. 10, 2023
CSX said on Friday that it has struck deals with two additional railroad unions to provide paid sick leave to its employees.
The agreements were reached with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), which represents railroad machinists, and the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers (NCFO), which represents the company’s utility workers.
CSX said about 500 workers in the unions will get four paid sick days and be able to convert three of their personal leave days into sick days.
Earlier this week CSX reached similar agreements with the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way (BMWED), which represents engineering employees, and the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen (BRC), representing mechanical workers. About 5,000 workers are represented by the unions.
Retroactive to Jan. 1, every CSX maintenance of way employee will receive four paid sick days and up to three paid personal leave days per year, according to BMWED. Employees can contribute unused paid sick leave to their 401(k) or receive the pay out of unused paid sick leave each year, according to the agreement.
CSX volunteered the paid personal leave without demand from the unions.
Nearly 4,000 BMWED and over 1,000 BRC workers are employed with CSX. The company said it has great respect for the work performed by its front-line employees to provide safe, reliable rail service and will continue to pursue similar agreements with its remaining unions.
BMWED president Tony D. Cardwell praised CSX CEO Joe Hinrichs for bringing about changes “that are necessary to begin repairing the dysfunctional relationship between the railroads and workers.”
“The other Class I railroads just reported extremely healthy earnings for 2022, many of which were record setting, and the workers are the people responsible for those profits,” Cardwell added. “I strongly encourage the other Class I railroads to follow the tracks that CSX CEO Joe Hinrichs has laid by reaching an identical agreement for paid sick leave with BMWED.”
Hinrichs said in a statement that the agreements demonstrate CSX’s determination to provide better experiences for its employees.
“CSX is committed to listening to our railroaders and working with their representatives to find solutions that improve their quality of life,” he said.
BRC president Don Grissom said he hopes that other railroads follow CSX’s example.
“The other carriers should take note and come to the bargaining table in a similar manner,” he said.
Paid sick time was a big issue between freight railroads and 12 unions during tumultuous negotiations last year that nearly led to two work stoppages. Eight of the unions accepted a tentative agreement, which included 24 percent pay raises and $5,000 in bonuses but did not include paid sick time. Four others rejected the deal.
Congress ended the stalemate and enforced the contract for all unions.
CSX is the first of the major U.S. railroads to adopt a paid sick leave policy.