Railroads, unions make progress in contract talks

AP News
Posted: Nov 15, 2011 4:41 PM
Railroads, unions make progress in contract talks

The nation's major freight railroads have made progress in resolving a protracted labor dispute with unions that had been threatening to strike.

The railroads say they have reached tentative collective bargaining agreements with three unions covering nearly 24,000 workers. They are the first agreements reached since President Barack Obama appointed a special board to oversee contract talks.

Negotiations continue between more than 30 railroads and eight other unions representing about 68,000 workers. The railroads include Union Pacific Corp., CSX Corp. and Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

The unions were preparing to strike last month, but that was averted for at least 60 days after the White House intervened. Obama said a rail strike could damage the economy.

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No strikes are permitted until a cooling-off period ends on Dec. 6.