RT&S reported earlier that we were running out of time to avoid a possible national rail labor strike beginning Monday, July 18. We can now report this potential strike has been averted.
President Biden issued an executive order creating a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) that will avoid a national rail strike and help railroads and their workers settle ongoing national labor negotiations and ultimately agree to a new contract.
According to the Association of American Railroads (AAR), the Railway Labor Act governs collective bargaining for the rail industry, which aims to help parties reach an agreement without work stoppages or disruptions to U.S. freight rail movements. Among other things, the statute includes provisions to encourage successful negotiations and, when necessary, provide outside assistance, such as forming a PEB to facilitate a resolution.
Biden’s creation of the PEB is welcome news across the industry. Ian Jefferies, President and CEO of the AAR said “We are pleased that President Biden has taken an important step by creating a PEB to help all parties find a reasonable path forward. An agreement that allows both our hardworking employees and the industry to thrive into the future remains possible.
Greg Regan, President of the Transportation Trades Department (TTD) of the AFL-CIO, said “We commend President Biden for announcing a board of neutral arbitrators to investigate and report its findings and recommendations to help both parties work toward a resolution.”
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