PEB makes recommendations in US railway negotiatinos

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US railway workers would receive a 22 percent pay increase over the next three years and $5,000 in bonus payments under a wage proposal made by the Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) overseeing contract negotiations between railroads and the 13 unions representing 115,000 workers. PEB’s 124-page report released this week called for retroactive pay hikes and five annual $1,000 payments which, combined with the wage increases, could average more than $11,000 in immediate payout to employees, according to the PEB. Other recommendations by the board include adjustments to health care premiums, retirement benefits, and work rules. The PEB’s recommendation is non-binding. The two sides have 30 days to review and can either use the proposal as a basis for a new deal or reject the recommendation completely. If the parties cannot reach a deal, Congress can step in by Sept. 17 and create legislation to force binding arbitration. If Congress does not act in time, union workers will be legally allowed to strike, picket, or start a lockout when the 30-day review period ends.

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