Congress votes to increase paid sick leave for railway workers

Yahoo Finance reporter Dani Romero details the latest developments in the labor negotiations between rail labor unions, management, and Congress.

Video Transcript

DAVE BRIGGS: The House of Representatives voting today to approve legislation, averting a rail shutdown. Yahoo Finance's Dani Romero joins us now with the details. Woo, could have been an economic catastrophe according to all involved, Dani. What's the latest?

DANI ROMERO: Well, Dave, this wasn't really much of a surprise, as it was expected by many industry experts. And just on background, it was expected also by some union representatives as well.

But the timeline is really key here. Now, that the House has passed the bill, it will then head off to the Senate. So if the Senate receives the bill today-- tonight, then it would be up for consideration as early as Friday morning, which is December 2, unless all senators approve.

Now, the bill needs at least 60 votes to move forward. But if the senators don't agree, then the bill would be up for consideration as early as next Monday and Tuesday-- or Tuesday. So that would be December 5 or 6.

So there's a little bit of a wiggle room here as the unions have indicated that if they don't reach an agreement, then they would strike as early as December 9. It is expected that the Senate will pass this legislation.

But it's still unclear if the Senate will actually agree to the demands of those seven days of paid sick leave. It's also worth noting that in the Biden-- in Biden's tentative deal, there's a big loophole, particularly around the medical care leave aspect. Days off for medical care must happen on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. And they are required to have a 30-day notice.

The Association of the American Railroads, which represents the rail companies, said on Monday in a news release that the average freight rail employee receives three weeks of paid vacation and up to 14 days of personal leave.

So with that in mind, rail workers would not really be able to strike, legally, if this legislation does pass. They could stage a walkout but their employers could legally replace them. Dave.

SEANA SMITH: Dani, real quick, do we have any idea just how the Senate is going to proceed with this, whether it's going to be two separate votes, like we saw in the House? Or whether they could also potentially package these two bills together? Is that a possibility?

DANI ROMERO: I mean, essentially, it could be a possibility. But again, it's still unclear really what could happen. We did-- I did see the vote, this-- you know, how it came down and it seemed pretty split. So-- and we've heard even some senators, you know, comment, you know, on Twitter, on social media about their opinions on this. So it could sway either way, Seana.