WASHINGTON (November 5, 2011) – Today the Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) appointed by President Barack Obama issued its recommendations to resolve the dispute between the nation’s largest freight railroads and two coalitions representing 11 unions. The parties now have a 30-day period in which to negotiate voluntary settlements, which would avert any potential disruptions to rail service. The following statement about the recommendations can be attributed to A. Kenneth Gradia, Chairman of the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC), the railroads’ bargaining representative.
“PEB 243 had the difficult job of balancing the various proposals of the parties and crafting recommendations that would facilitate agreements. We’re pleased that the Board, for the most part, agreed that the railroads’ settlement with the United Transportation Union, the industry’s largest union, was an appropriate pattern for settlements with the remaining unions.
“While we have concerns about some of the recommendations, we believe the PEB report can serve as a foundation for the bargaining ahead. We hope the unions come to the table, as we do, committed to reaching agreements in the next 30 days that fairly address the needs of both sides. It is in the best interests of the parties – and the country – to resolve our differences and eliminate the risk of any disruption to rail service. A strike would cost the U.S. economy $2 billion a day, which would undoubtedly be a crushing blow to the nation’s fragile recovery.”