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U.S. House votes to block rail strike, mandate paid sick leave

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US House votes to block rail strikeThe U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to approve a bill to block a potentially crippling railroad strike and to mandate paid sick time for rail workers.

Lawmakers voted 290 to 137 to impose a tentative contract deal reached in September on a dozen unions representing 115,000 workers after President Joe Biden warned of the catastrophic impact of a rail stoppage that could begin as early as Dec. 9.

The House separately voted 221 to 207 to give seven days of paid sick leave to railroad employees, but that faces an uncertain fate in the Senate. Democrats and some Republicans have expressed outrage over the lack of paid short-term sick leave for railroad workers.

"We know much more needs to be done for railroad workers," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said ahead of the votes. "No one should be at risk of losing his or her job by staying home when sick, needing to see a doctor or getting lifesaving surgery."

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