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CSX adjusts attendance policy as railway unions back off sick times By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A CSX freight train blasts through heavy snow at a crossing in Silver Spring, Maryland on February 13, 2014. REUTERS/Gary Cameron/

Written by Lisa Bertlin and Rod Nickel

(Reuters) – CSX Corp. (NASDAQ) is changing its attendance policy for unexpected short-term medical absences next year after U.S. rail sick time policies became a flashpoint in national labor talks.

CSX is among the railroads that have used so-called points-based attendance policies to reduce unplanned absences as the industry cuts jobs to cut costs and boost profits. Under the policies, workers are penalized with points for unscheduled absences, and risk suspension or firing.

Railroad unions protest federal laissez-faire in sick time politics outside the US Capitol on Tuesday. On Dec. 2, US President Joe Biden signed deadlock-breaking legislation that could have halted shipments of food, fuel and medicine, stranding passengers and hurting the US economy without making any changes to sick time agreements.

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When the pandemic hit and freight volumes increased, affected railroad workers said those policies discouraged them from seeking medical care or taking time off to recover from the illness.

Under the new policy that takes effect Jan. 1, CSX said Tuesday it will no longer assess points when an employee calls in sick shortly before the scheduled workday because of the illness for which they met the doctor.

The company said in an email to Reuters that CSX’s new attendance rules will be “non-disciplinary and non-punitive.”

Four of the 12 unions involved in recent rail contract talks rejected a recently negotiated deal because it did not include any paid short-term sick days and failed to address the points-of-attendance system used by CSX and the two largest railroads in the United States – Union Pacific (NYSE: and BNSF owned by Berkshire Hathaway.

Under CSX’s new policy, accumulated points will expire in a 12-month cycle rather than accrue indefinitely, and employees will receive credit for working without absences and can use those points to write off points, CSX added. CSX said it does not apply points when employees are absent from work due to hospitalization or emergency treatment.

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Union Pacific said it expects to begin working with unions on quality-of-life issues in the coming weeks. BNSF did not immediately respond to questions about its policy on health-related absences.

On Friday, more than 70 lawmakers urged Biden to take executive action to ensure rail workers are paid sick leave.

Meanwhile, on December 1, Canada granted workers in railroads and other regulated workplaces at least 10 days of paid sick leave per year. Canada’s largest freight railway, Canadian National Railway (TSX:) Co and Canadian Pacific (NYSE: Railway Ltd), with employees in the United States as well. The railroad said collective bargaining with American workers would determine sick day requirements.

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Red Flags That Your Spouse Is Hiding Money (And What To Do About It)

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Marriage can be hard enough without one spouse hiding money from the other.

When financial infidelity occurs in the form of “hidden cash,” a marriage or a live-forever relationship can easily be ended.

The truth is About 30% of American couples suffer from financial infidelity. Other evidence shows that more than 75% of couples describe the hidden money situation as negative and common 10% of these scenarios end in divorce.

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US judge orders Norwegian Cruise Line to pay $110m for use of Cuba port By Reuters

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© Reuters. Norwegian American Airlines cruise ship Marina arrives in Havana Bay, Cuba on March 9, 2017. REUTERS/Alexander Meneghini/File/File Photo

Written by Brian Ellsworth

MIAMI (Reuters) – Norwegian Shipping Line (NYSE) has to pay $110 million in compensation for the use of a port confiscated by the Cuban government in 1960, a US judge said Friday, marking a significant milestone for Cuban Americans. Who are seeking reparations for the Cold War era. Assets confiscation.

The decision by US District Judge Beth Bloom in Miami follows her decision in March that use of the Havana Cruise Terminal constituted smuggling of forfeited property belonging to the plaintiff, Delaware-registered Havana Docks Corp.

The decision read: “The judgment is made in favor of Plaintiff Havana Docks Corporation and against Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Ltd.”

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“The plaintiff was awarded $109,848,747.87 in damages,” it says, adding that the Norwegian must also pay an additional $3 million in legal fees and costs.

Norwegian Cruise Line did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel has sharply criticized the Helms-Burton Act, calling it an extraterritorial violation of international law.

Havana Docks also sued Carnival Cruise Lines (NYSE: ), Royal Caribbean (NYSE:) and MSC under the Helms-Burton Act, which allows US citizens to sue over the use of property seized in Cuba after 1959.

The ruling could fuel more lawsuits by Cuban exiles pursuing claims, worth $2 billion, according to one estimate, over asset seizures under late Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

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It may also serve as a reminder to multinational companies of the complexities that can come with doing business in Cuba.

In 2016, US cruise ships began traveling to Cuba for the first time in decades after a détente negotiated by former President Barack Obama eased some provisions of a Cold War US embargo.

But the Trump administration in 2019 ordered a halt to all such cruises amid efforts to pressure Cuba over its support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Washington’s ideological foe.

The Trump administration has also allowed US citizens to sue third parties for using property seized by Cuban authorities, a provision of the Helms-Burton Act that every previous president has waived since the law was passed in 1996.

Havana Docs says Cuba, which has been under a US trade embargo for decades, has never compensated it for taking the drug.

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The four cruise lines sued in 2019 in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Bloom in March held the companies liable for damages under the Helms-Burton Act, also known as the Libertad Act.

According to the US-Cuban Economic and Trade Council, a nonprofit organization that provides information on relations between the two countries, 5,913 validated claims related to property seized in Cuba represent an estimated liability of nearly $2 billion.

Forty-four lawsuits have been filed under Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, the organization says.

“For the current plaintiffs of Cuban descent, (the decision) will give them a moment of relief,” said John Cavulich, the group’s president. “It will give them a moment to say ‘You can run but you can’t hide,’” Cavulich said.

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Is a Royal Caribbean or Carnival beverage package worth it?

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An all-inclusive beverage package that gives you access to beer, wine, liquor, bottled water, soda, specialty coffee, and even shakes/juices may cost more than your cruise fare.

This is especially true right now when many cruise cabins are being sold at discounted prices while the drinks package prices have gone up.

Deciding whether to purchase a drink package is a challenge because you have to estimate whether you will be drinking enough to cover the cost. Or, more importantly, whether you’d spend more if you decided not to purchase a drink package.



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