National bargaining between the nation’s major freight railroads and the 13 unions that represent 145,000 employees has entered its second year. As previously reported, those unions have formed three separate bargaining coalitions. Two of those coalitions, the Coordinated Bargaining Group and BMWED/SMART, remain in direct bargaining with the railroads’ representative, the National Carriers’ Conference Committee. The third union group, comprised of the TCU and certain Shop Crafts, invoked mediation by the National Mediation Board in October 2015. Those negotiations are now occurring under the auspices of NMB mediators.
The parties in all three sets of negotiations have agreed to maintain an active meeting schedule and have continued to have comprehensive discussions of their respective bargaining proposals in the mutual pursuit of voluntary settlements.
Negotiations between the freight railroads and unions are governed by the 1926 Railway Labor Act, which requires the parties to exert every reasonable effort to make agreements and includes safeguards to minimize service disruptions because of labor disputes.