WASHINGTON (Nov. 29, 2011) — The nation’s freight railroads have not reached agreements with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and the American Train Dispatchers Association to extend the current “cooling off” period. The railroads’ proposed extension – which a third union, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes, accepted – was contingent upon the acceptance by all three unions. Absent an extensionof the “cooling off” period or tentative settlement agreements, these unions and the railroads will be free under the Railway Labor Act to exercise “self-help” at 12:01AM on Dec. 6.
“The railroads have made and will continue to make every effort to reach agreements with the remaining three unions. During the busiest shipping and travel period of the year, a nationwide disruption of rail service would deal a crushing blow to our nation’s economy, potentially costing our country $2 billion a day,” said A. Kenneth Gradia, Chairman of the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC), the railroads’ bargaining representative.
“The Presidential Emergency Board appointed by President Obama to help avert such an outcome made recommendations for the resolution of these disputes. The railroads – and eight other unions – have agreed to implement these settlement terms, which reflect the Board’s careful consideration of both sides’ arguments. We urge the remaining unions to reach agreements with the railroads before December 6. ”
The freight railroads have reached settlements with 10 of the 13 rail unions covering more than 60 percent of the 132,000 employees in the current round of bargaining.
The NCCC represents more than 30 railroads, including BNSF, CSX Transportation, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific in national bargaining with the 13 major rail unions.