WASHINGTON (November 15, 2011) — The nation’s major freight railroads have reached tentative collective bargaining agreements with three unions covering almost 24,000 rail employees. These are the first agreements to be reached after a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) made recommendations for resolving the disputes between the railroads and 11 unions.
The three unions are the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and the Transportation Communications International Union.
Prior to the Emergency Board proceedings, the railroads had reached agreements with the United Transportation Union and its Yardmasters Department, which together represent nearly 40,000 employees in national (multi-employer) bargaining. The railroads now have agreements covering almost half of the 132,000 employees in this bargaining round.
“The railroads and unions moved quickly to implement the PEB recommendations before vital rail service is threatened,” said A. Kenneth Gradia, chairman of the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC), the railroads’ bargaining agent.
The tentative agreements cover wages, benefits, and other issues. Details were not released pending ratification votes by union members.
As mandated by the Railway Labor Act, the carriers and the remaining eight unions are in a 30-day “cooling off” period to negotiate voluntary settlements, which would avert any potential disruptions to rail service. During this period, which ends December 6, strikes are not permitted.