Market Matters Blog

Two Rail Unions Reach Unprecedented Sick Leave Agreement With CSX Rail

Mary Kennedy
By  Mary Kennedy , DTN Basis Analyst
Connect with Mary:
CSX Transportation entered into a paid sick leave agreement with 5,000 union workers employed by them from Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division and Brotherhood of Railway Carmen. This agreement is the first to be offered by any of the Class I railroads since the contract dispute ended in December 2022. (DTN photo by Mary Kennedy)

On Feb. 7, 2023, the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen (BRC) said they reached a voluntary agreement with CSX Transportation to provide paid sick leave for their members employed by CSX. BRC is among the very first union to reach an agreement with any carrier to provide paid sick leave.

Members of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division (BMWED), also employed by CSX, have received the same deal. This deal covers approximately 5,000 CSX engineering and maintenance workers between the two unions.

BMEWD said in a press release (…), "Beginning Jan. 1, 2023, and continuing each year thereafter, every CSX Maintenance of Way Employee will be provided with four paid sick days on an annual basis, with the ability to also take up to three paid personal leave days per year for paid sick time off. The Agreement also provides for the employee to contribute unused paid sick leave to their 401(k) or receive the pay out of unused paid sick leave each year. The paid personal leave comes voluntarily from CSX, without the demand of any concessions from the Union."

BRC also noted the agreement in a press release (…), adding "This agreement provides four days of paid sick leave to be paid at 100% of the employees rate of pay. In addition, it also provides members with the opportunity to designate the use of their personal leave days for sick leave."

BRC General President Don Grissom added, "We are extremely proud that BRC is one of the very first unions to reach this type of an agreement. This agreement is a significant accomplishment and provides a very important benefit for our members working at CSX. The other Carriers should take note and come to the bargaining table in a similar manner."

Remember, paid sick leave was a very contentious issue in rail workers' contract negotiations for over two years. After mediation failed in the summer of 2022, the Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) No. 250 was created by President Joe Biden on July 15 to help with the tumultuous railroad contract negotiations. On Aug. 16, the PEB 250 board released its report, offering nonbinding recommendations for wages, health insurance and other things. But the one thing missing that rail unions insisted needed to be part of an amicable settlement was sick days.

On Sept. 15, 2022, President Biden and two union presidents agreed to put the PEB 250 to a vote, sending it to all 12 unions involved. When all the union votes were tallied, four unions said "no" to the terms unless the sick days were added and claimed that they would go on strike Dec. 9.

On Dec. 2, 2022, the Biden administration exercised its powers under the 1926 Railway Labor Act, signing legislation to prevent a strike. Still missing from the final deal was the sick time asked for by the unions. All 12 rail unions said they vowed to continue the fight for sick days.

Joe Hinrichs, president and chief executive officer of CSX stated, "CSX is committed to listening to our railroaders and working with their representatives to find solutions that improve their quality of life and experience as employees. These agreements demonstrate commitment and are a direct result of the collaborative relationship we are working to cultivate with all of the unions that represent CSX employees. We greatly appreciate the leadership of the BMWED and BRC in working towards these agreements."

Nearly 4,000 BMWED and over 1,000 BRC workers are employed with CSX. "The company has great respect for the work performed by its front-line employees to provide safe, reliable rail service for the nation, and will continue to pursue similar agreements with its remaining unions," added the CSX press release (…).

Mary Kennedy can be reached at

Follow her on Twitter @MaryCKenn


To comment, please Log In or Join our Community .