Amtrak said it will operate a full schedule Friday now that a tentative labor agreement between U.S. railroads and union negotiators has been reached.
The passenger railroad service announced Thursday that it was working to quickly restore "canceled trains and reaching out to impacted customers to accommodate on first available departures" after the tentative deal was reached late Wednesday.
Earlier this week, Amtrak proactively canceled all of its long-distance routes to avoid potential disruptions in the event that contract negotiations were not resolved before Friday's strike deadline.
The negotiations did not involve Amtrak or its workforce, but many of its trains operate over freight railroad tracks.
"This tentative agreement will keep our trains moving, stations bustling, and employees proudly serving customers as we move them across this great country, stimulating local economies in more than 500 communities we serve," Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner said in a statement on Thursday.
Both sides sat in negotiations for 20 hours at the Labor Department to work out a deal to avoid a strike that would have shut down rail lines across the country and disrupted the economy.
President Biden said in a statement that the tentative agreement is "an important win for our economy and the American people."
"These rail workers will get better pay, improved working conditions, and peace of mind around their health care costs: all hard-earned," Biden said. "The agreement is also a victory for railway companies who will be able to retain and recruit more workers for an industry that will continue to be part of the backbone of the American economy."
The deal also helped the economy avert "significant damage any shutdown would have brought," he added.
The five-year deal, retroactive to 2020, includes the 24% raises and $5,000 in bonuses that a Presidential Emergency Board recommended this summer. But railroads also agreed to ease their strict attendance policies to address some of the unions’ concerns about working conditions.
Railroad workers will now be able to take unpaid days off for doctor’s appointments without being penalized under railroad attendance rules. Previously, workers would lose points under the attendance systems that the BNSF and Union Pacific railways had adopted, and they could be disciplined if they lost all their points.
The tentative agreement will go to union members for a vote after a post-ratification cooling-off period of several weeks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.