Norfolk Southern has reached sick leave agreements with all of its craft unions. The railroad says it is the first U.S. Class I railroad to have sick leave deals for 100% of its craft workforce.

The last deal to be struck was with yardmasters affiliated with the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers — Transportation Division (SMART-TD). The tentative agreement, which will affect nearly 300 yardmasters, calls for up to four new days of paid sick leave, plus the opportunity to use up to three additional days of existing paid time off as sick leave. 

Yardmasters with SMART-TD must still ratify the agreement. Other craft employees affiliated with SMART-TD ratified an agreement last Friday with NS that included sick leave.

“This agreement will provide our hardworking yardmasters the time they need and deserve to take care of their personal well-being,” SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson said in a Monday news release. “I want to thank Norfolk Southern for their partnership on this deal and for leading the industry as the first railroad to sign sick leave agreements for every one of our dedicated union members. And most importantly, I want to thank our SMART-TD general chairmen, Joe Borders and Dan Weir, for negotiating this important new benefit for Norfolk Southern yardmasters.”

NS (NYSE: NSC) President and CEO Alan Shaw said: “Following national labor negotiations, we committed to address quality of life issues for our craft railroaders. With today’s agreement, we make good on that promise. I am proud of our team for working collaboratively with union leadership over the last four months to reach agreements that benefit all of our craft colleagues.”

NS added that it is still “actively engaged” with rail labor on other quality-of-life issues. 

Predictable schedules and sick leave have been key issues for the unions — and particularly for train conductors and locomotive engineers — during the most recent round of collective bargaining between the unions and the Class I railroads. That round was marked by negotiation impasses, as well as the specter of a potential rail strike before Congress intervened last December.

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Related links:

Shaw: NS is ‘going to be the gold standard in safety’

BNSF reaches sick leave agreement with train conductors union

UP, train engineers reach ‘historic’ deal addressing work-life balance

Norfolk Southern and rail union presidents renew safety commitment

Norfolk Southern, SMART-TD reach labor scheduling deal for conductors

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