Railroads, Unions Reach Agreement, Avoiding Strike

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Freight railroads reached labor agreements with two unions, averting a strike for the holiday shipping season, after U.S. lawmakers said they were prepared to intervene in the dispute, Bloomberg reported Friday.

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and the American Train Dispatchers Association reached tentative accords, the National Railway Labor Conference, said in an e-mailed statement.

The conference is a Washington-based group that bargains on behalf of railroads. The unions represent about 26,500 workers, Bloomberg said.

Another union, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees, extended a “cooling-off” period to Feb. 8, Bloomberg reported.

Winning the contract agreements ended the threat of a walkout that could have occurred as soon as Tuesday, the Association of American Railroads said.

A freight-rail work stoppage would have cost the U.S. economy about $2 billion a day, the rail trade group said in a statement.

The House was ready to vote on legislation to prevent a “job- crushing railway labor strike,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), said yesterday before the union accords, Bloomberg reported.