ARLINGTON, VA (November 7, 2018) – The nation’s major freight railroads today announced the appointment of Mr. Brendan M. Branon as Chairman of the National Railway Labor Conference (NRLC), effective January 1, 2019.   He will succeed A. Kenneth Gradia, who is retiring after 34 years with the NRLC, and after serving the last 10 years as Chairman.

Mr. Branon, who was most recently the Managing Director, Labor and Employee Relations at Delta Air Lines based in Atlanta, GA., has been the principal negotiator, attorney and company spokesman with Delta Air Lines’ domestic labor unions. He has been with Delta Air Lines since 2007 and prior to that was an Associate at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, LLP based in Washington DC. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Emory University and has a Juris Doctor and Bachelor degree from Georgetown University.

Mr. Branon will become the seventh Chairman since the freight railroads formed the Arlington, Virginia-based NRLC in 1963. The NRLC is a not-for-profit association whose membership consists of all major (Class I) U.S. freight railroads and many smaller lines. Through its National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC), the NRLC represents most of its members in national (multi-employer) collective bargaining with the 13 major rail unions.

Mr. Gradia joined the NRLC in 1984 as Labor Counsel and since then has participated in seven rounds of national rail negotiations in various capacities, including NRLC Chairman.  He led the industry’s negotiations during the last two bargaining rounds and reached agreements with all 13 unions in national handing, which represent more than 140,000 freight rail employees, without rail strikes or other interruptions to service.

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