A board has recommended that U.S. freight railroad workers receive an 18.6% pay increase over six years. The board was appointed by the President in an attempt to stop a national railroad strike that could cost the economy $2 billion a day. 90% of the railroad workers belong to unions. If the two sides do not reach an agreement by December 6, the workers can strike and the companies can lock workers out. Talks between railroad companies and the 13 unions that represent rail workers began 2 years ago.