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Senate reaches deal to avert rail strike

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer Thursday announced that the Senate will vote on a bill to avoid a railroad strike, as well as a House measure giving seven days of paid sick leave to rail workers and an amendment for a cooling-off period between labor and management.Schumer, D-N.Y., made the announcement after negotiations between Republicans and Democrats who aimed to avoid a strike that could be highly costly to the economy. RAIL UNION STRIKE WOULD CREATE A 'CRIPPLING ECONOMY, INDUSTRY OFFICIAL WARNS "We will have three votes. First on the Sullivan resolution, just delaying everything for 60 days," Schumer told reporters after announcing the votes on the floor. "Then on the seven-day sick day addition, and then on the concurrent resolution final passage." The Senate is moving toward a potential vote on Thursday to avert a rail strike. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images / Getty Images) Schumer added: "I am very glad that the two sides got together to avoid a shutdown which would have been devastating for the American people, for the American economy, and so many workers across the country."The final agreement that the Senate would pass in the form of the concurrent resolution, which has already been approved by eight transportation unions, would grant workers three unpaid sick days as long as the employers were provided with at least 30 days' notice before the time was taken. The House passed that measure Wednesday. Four transportation unions, compromising nearly 100,000 rail workers, say the deal is unfair and threatened a national strike unless the agreement is broadened. They are asking for seven additional days of paid sick leave, which the House passed separately Wednesday. Schumer said that all three measures the Senate will vote on will require 60 votes. That high threshold means that the seven days of sick leave, which likely has limited support among Republicans, and the 60-day pause, which likely has little Democratic support, has a lower chance of passing compared to if the vote were done at a 50-vote threshold. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX BUSINESS APP "I think most of our members would support that. The question is will any Democrats?" Senate Minority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., said Thursday of the cooling-off period, which was introduced by Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska. But on the underlying bill to avoid the shutdown, even Democrats demanding better treatment for rail workers were reluctant say they would vote against it – even without the additional sick leave. "I think there is a lot of commitment to solving this problem before it has a potentially disastrous economic effect," Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said.