A national rail strike could still be on the table if rank-and-file workers reject the tentative agreement announced by the White House this week.

By Jeff Schuhrke, In These Times

President Joe Biden took a victory lap on Thursday after his administration helped broker a deal to stave off what would have been the first national freight railroad strike in 30 years. But the potential crisis is not over until rank-and-file rail workers vote on whether to approve the agreement — which could take weeks.

A rail worker walks behind a train car hauling freight

Until railroad workers in the coming days can digest this and have their questions answered, there’s no consensus able to build on whether this deal is good, bad or ugly,” said Ron Kaminkow, a Nevada-based engineer and member of the Teamsters-affiliated Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen (BLET).

The tentative agreement reached early Thursday covers over 60,000 workers with the BLET and the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers-Transportation Division (SMART-TD), two of 12 rail unions that have been in contract negotiations with the major freight rail carriers for nearly three years. While the other unions had already reached tentative deals, the BLET and SMART-TD were the last holdouts.

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