10 out of 12 labor unions have reached tentative agreements with the railroad carriers, up from five last week.

But BLET and SMART TD, representing half of all rail workers, tell CNBC there will be no ratification unless quality of life issues including vacation, sick days and attendance policies are addressed.

A “cooling off” period expires on Friday, at which time workers can strike, but railroad representatives stress that the negotiations are ongoing and a strike is not inevitable.

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