Carper Votes to Avoid a National Rail Shutdown, Provide Workers Paid Sick Leave

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) today voted in favor of legislation to adopt the Tentative Agreement reached between unions and railroads in September and avert a national rail shutdown, which passed the Senate by a vote of 80-15. Carper also voted in favor of another unsuccessful measure that would have provided rail workers with seven paid sick days.

“Our nation’s rail workers are critical to keeping our trains moving and our economy humming. These essential workers deserve an opportunity to negotiate for sick leave and other critical benefits, which is why I didn’t take my vote today lightly,” said Senator Carper. “A rail shutdown would have been devastating for our economy, putting hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work in a matter of weeks, and harmful to our environment. President Biden and Labor Secretary Walsh—two of the most pro-labor individuals to hold their respective offices—understood these stakes and asked Congress to intervene.

“Ultimately, I was glad that an overwhelmingly bipartisan majority of my colleagues joined me in support of this agreement, which included an historic 24 percent pay raise and improved health care benefits for rail workers. Still, I’m disappointed that we weren’t able to pass a measure that included paid sick leave. Our rail workers deserve paid sick leave, and I hope such an agreement can be reached in the near future.”

Yesterday, Senator Carper spoke on the Senate floor, urging his colleagues to take action that would avert a rail strike. Click here to view his floor speech.