Monday, June 17, 2024

UP joins other railroads in providing paid sick days for some workers

On the heels of deals at other Class I railroads, Union Pacific has reached agreements with eight unions to provide workers up to seven paid sick days. The agreement goes into effect April 1.

According to a prepared statement from UP (NYSE: UNP), the employees in the unions that agreed to the deal will receive four sick days, prorated for this year. Additionally, they will be able to convert three of their currently allotted personal days to sick days.

That structure — four days outright plus the ability to convert three — is the same as the deal that granted additional sick days to workers at Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC).

There also have been sick-day agreements at CSX (NYSE: CSX) and BNSF (NYSE: BRK.B).

The unions that reached agreement with Union Pacific were the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers; the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen; the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers; the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers – Mechanical Division; the International Association of Bridge, Structural and Ornamental Iron Workers; and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division.

Union Pacific said one union, the Transportation Communications International Union, already had a sick-day agreement with the company. That leaves four unions that do not yet have a deal in place, and UP said the railroad was negotiating with them. 

UP said it now has deals in place for paid sick days that represent more than 40% of the company’s workforce.

In its 10-K report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, UP said it had 33,179 employees as of Dec. 31, 2022.

A national railroad strike was averted in December through an act of Congress and President Joe Biden’s signature, and a contract agreed to in September was put in place. But it was clear in comments made at the time that the still-unsettled issue of paid sick days would be addressed post-negotiation.

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