This story has been updated...\r\n\r\nThe Biden White House on Thursday announced a tentative agreement between unions and rail carriers that reportedly includes a win for workers on sick leave, an issue central to the dispute that nearly resulted in a nationwide strike.\r\n\r\nThe Washington Post reported that the deal, which still must be approved by union members, would give rail workers \u0022the ability to take days off for medical care without being subject to discipline.\u0022\r\n\r\nThe Post\u0026#039;s Lauren Kaori Gurley noted on Twitter that \u0022workers will receive voluntary assigned days off and a single additional paid day off. (They previously did not receive sick days.)\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022The agreement provides members with the ability to take unpaid days for medical care without being subject to attendance policies,\u0022 Gurley added.\r\n\r\nIn a statement Thursday morning, President Joe Biden said the deal represents \u0022a win for tens of thousands of rail workers who worked tirelessly through the pandemic to ensure that America\u0026#039;s families and communities got deliveries of what have kept us going during these difficult years. \u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022These rail workers will get better pay, improved working conditions, and peace of mind around their healthcare costs: all hard-earned,\u0022 Biden continued. \u0022The 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 for decades to come.\u0022\r\n\r\nSick leave was the key sticking point in the tense and consequential negotiations between hugely profitable freight rail carriers and their employees, who have been working for three years without a contract as railroads see booming profits. It\u0026#039;s not clear whether the agreed-upon policy changes will be sufficient for union members.\r\n\r\n\u0022It\u0026#039;s definitely premature to be hailing Biden as an economy-saving dealmaker,\u0022 argued HuffPost labor reporter Dave Jamieson. \u0022Workers haven\u0026#039;t even been walked through the particulars yet, let alone determined whether they\u0026#039;re willing to accept it.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe tentative deal includes a 24% raise for rail workers by 2024 and an immediate 13.5% raise.\r\n\r\nA statement from the National Carriers\u0026#039; Conference Committee, which represents the major railroads, contained no mention of attendance policies that unions said have been ruining their members\u0026#039; lives.\r\n\r\n\u0022Our members are being terminated for getting sick or for attending routine medical visits as we crawl our way out of a worldwide pandemic,\u0022 the heads of two rail unions said Sunday.\r\n\r\nThe White House announced the agreement after frenzied talks between administration officials, including Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, and representatives of the unions and rail companies over the past 24 hours—a last-ditch effort aimed at averting a strike with massive implications for the U.S. economy.\r\n\r\nThe unions, for their part, accused rail carriers of engaging in \u0022corporate extortion\u0022 by blocking shipments and shuttering other operations before a single worker had walked off the job, a signal that companies were moving in the direction of a damaging lockout.\r\n\r\nThe White House has faced significant criticism over its role in the dispute: Last month, an emergency board formed by Biden recommended a compromise deal that excluded sick leave improvements that rail workers had been demanding and fell short in other key areas, including healthcare costs.\r\n\r\nOn Wednesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) blocked a GOP effort to force rail workers to accept the emergency board\u0026#039;s recommended agreement.