A union representing about 12,000 rail workers on Monday voted down a tentative contract that was brokered by the White House last month ahead of a possible rail strike.
This vote will force the two sides back to the negotiating table and creates the possibility of a nationwide strike. The potential work stoppage could paralyze the nation’s supply chain and transportation rail service later this fall as the U.S. enters peak holiday season.
Four unions have ratified contracts based on the agreement brokered by the White House, while seven have votes pending on the deal. The eleven unions represent about 115,000 rail workers.
The two largest rail unions — the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers Trainmen, or BLET, and the SMART Transportation Division, or SMART-TD, which make up roughly half of all rail workers — are set to finish voting in the middle of next month.
The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division of the Teamsters, or BMWED, rejected the tentative contract due to frustration with compensation and working conditions, particularly a lack of paid sick days, BMWED President Tony Cardell said in a statement on Monday.