Senator Kaine talks rail strike

Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 5:54 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - On Wednesday the U.S. House of Representatives voted to avert a freight rail strike by passing legislation that would bind companies and workers to a proposed settlement that was reached in September. The legislation now heads to the senate which has to pass it before Friday, December 8 to avoid a strike.

The House also passed a separate bill on Wednesday that would add seven days of paid sick leave for workers to the deal which has been a point of contention.

Virginia U.S. Senator Tim Kaine has not yet indicated how he will vote on the settlement or the added sick leave provision.

“We have to avert a rail strike. I’d prefer it be done by negotiation not legislation but legislation is specifically permitted in a situation like this to avert a rail strike so I’ll say that. I’ll also say the notion of seven days of paid sick leave for people who work really hard in all weather conditions outdoors including during COVID doesn’t seem unreasonable to me,” said Kaine.

Kaine said that he had discussions with railroad carriers and unions about the negotiations back in September and is continuing those talks ahead of the vote.

“I have kind of initial thought about both the negotiated settlement itself and about the sick leave provision but I’m still in discussion with both rail carriers and unions. Before I vote on any of it I just want to make sure I understand the pluses and minuses that folks see,” said Kaine.

The legislation passed with bipartisan support in the House as a nationwide rail strike could be devastating to the U.S. economy.