Attention freight rail members in national handling:

To further strengthen our PEB presentation, we are soliciting additional evidence regarding the restrictive and punitive measures carriers have used to punish employees who are attempting to look after their own health, and the actions taken by members to avoid such.

Specifically, we are requesting that members provide details surrounding any time where they felt they had to come to work ill and/or injured, in order to avoid potential discipline and loss of compensation. This includes any time where members may have neglected to care for their own personal health because of the Carriers’ policies.

Additionally, we ask that members share any stories where they have either been denied mark-offs to tend to their own personal health or marked off sick and were subsequently punished. These mark-off requests could have been to attend counseling sessions, routine medical appointments, and/or medical treatments; but must have been for the employee — not a family member or relative.

We want to show how these policies have harmed you and how having paid sick days to care for your own personal health, without retribution, would be a much-needed relief for T&E crews.

Please respond to

Please reply with your name, local number, and current contact information, in the event that we need to contact you to gather additional information.

In solidarity,

SMART Transportation Division

whitehouselogoWashington, D.C. – Today (July 15, 2015), President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order creating a Presidential Emergency Board to investigate and to make recommendations for settlement of the current disputes between the New Jersey Transit Rail and the NJT Rail Labor Coalition.

The Executive Order established the Presidential Emergency Board effective July 16, 2015, and the Emergency Board will report its findings and recommendations for settlement to the President within thirty (30) days of its creation.

President Obama also announced that he intends to appoint the following members to Presidential Emergency Board No. 248:

  • Elizabeth C. Wesman – Chair, Presidential Emergency Board No. 248
  • Barbara Deinhardt – Member, Presidential Emergency Board No. 248
  • Ann Kenis – Member, Presidential Emergency Board No. 248

President Obama said, “The transit rail system is vital to our nation’s economy, and it’s crucial that we ensure it runs smoothly.  That’s why I’m grateful these talented individuals have agreed to serve the American people by helping to swiftly and appropriately resolve these labor-management disputes.”

SMART Transportation Division Vice President Doyle Turner reports that the PEB will begin Monday, July 27 and will most likely go through Friday, July 31. Although the BLET, also part of the NJT Rail Labor Coalition, has sent out a strike vote that has been approved by their members, SMART Transportation Division has taken no such action and will only do so if necessary after the PEB gives its ruling.

Dr. Elizabeth C. Wesman, Appointee for Chair, Presidential Emergency Board No. 248

Dr. Elizabeth C. Wesman has been a full-time labor and employment arbitrator since 2000 and has practiced arbitration and mediation since 1981.  She has arbitrated disputes in a wide array of industries, including railroad, aerospace, police and fire departments, and public and private universities.  Dr. Wesman was Associate Professor of Strategy and Human Resources/Industrial Relations at the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University from 1981 to 2000.  She was also an Adjunct Professor at the Rochester, New York, Extension Division of Cornell University from 1990 to 2000.  She was a lecturer in the Department of Human Resource Studies at the New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University from 1980 to 1981 and an Instructor in the Department of Economics at Le Moyne College from 1970 to 1975.  Dr. Wesman is a member of the National Academy of Arbitrators.  She is on the arbitration rosters of the American Arbitration Association, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, and the National Mediation Board.  Dr. Wesman has been on a number of permanent panels, including the New York State/Public Employees Federation Panel, the Oregon Employment Relations Board, and the Washington State Public Employment Relations Commission.  She is the immediate past-President of the National Association of Railroad Referees.  Dr. Wesman received an A.B. from Smith College, an M.A. from Northwestern University, and a Ph.D. from the New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University.

Barbara Deinhardt, Appointee for Member, Presidential Emergency Board No. 248

Barbara Deinhardt has been a full-time labor and employment arbitrator and mediator since 1995.  She served as Chair of the New York State Employment Relations Board from 2007 to 2009 and as Member and Chair of the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board from 1991 to 1995.  Ms. Deinhardt was the Deputy Commissioner for Legal Affairs and General Counsel to the New York State Department of Labor from 1986 to 1991.  From 1984 to 1986, she was General Counsel to the Workers’ Compensation Board, and she was a Partner at Kestell, Pogue & Deinhardt from 1980 to 1984.  She was a trial attorney with the National Labor Relations Board in Boston from 1976 to 1980.  Ms. Deinhardt served as a member of the Foreign Service Grievance Board from 1999 to 2005.  She is a member of the National Academy of Arbitrators, the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, the National Advisory Board of the Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law, the Labor and Employment Relations Association, and the New York State Bar Association.  Ms. Deinhardt received a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law.

Ann Kenis, Appointee for Member, Presidential Emergency Board No. 248

Ann Kenis has been a professional arbitrator for the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and American Arbitration Association since 1992 and a hearing officer for the Illinois State Board of Education since 1994.  She has arbitrated hundreds of disputes in a wide array of industries, including the railroad, manufacturing, automotive, education, transportation, postal service, public sector, service industries, trucking and transportation.  From 1984 to 1991, she was an associate attorney for Arbitrator Elliott H. Goldstein.  Ms. Kenis began her career as an attorney representing clients in matters of employment and education at Kerr & Longwell from 1981 to 1984.  She has been on the arbitration roster of the National Mediation Board for 20 years.  Ms. Kenis has been appointed to permanent panels for the State of Illinois Department of Central Management Services and its various unions, the Chicago Transit Authority and ATU Locals 241 and 308, and Caterpillar and the United Auto Workers.  She is a member of the National Academy of Arbitrators and has served as Secretary/Treasurer of the National Association of Railroad Referees.  Ms. Kenis received a B.S. from University of Illinois, an M.A. from Northwestern University, and a J.D. from Loyola University.

NMB logo; National Mediation BoardThe National Mediation Board yesterday released from further mediation every commuter union on New Jersey Transit (NJT).           

The unions, working together in the New Jersey Transit Rail Labor Coalition, immediately announced their intention to invoke a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB), which will make non-binding recommendations to settle the four year old contract dispute. 

The Coalition includes every rail union on NJT, representing more than 4,000 commuter workers. 

Coalition spokesmen said, “By announcing our intention to invoke a PEB, we want to remove any fears the riding public may have that a strike could occur in July. Our goal is to reach a voluntary agreement. We are optimistic that a neutral PEB will find reasonable our proposals to follow the pattern settlements reached on New York commuter railroads. There is simply no justification for the workers we represent to fall further behind their counterparts on Long Island and Metro-North railroads.” 

Negotiations for new contracts opened on July 1, 2011. NMB efforts at mediation failed to produce agreements, prompting today’s releases. Under the governing Railway Labor Act, a strike would be possible at 12:01 AM, July 16, 2015, unless one of the involved Governors, the commuter agency or unions request the President to appoint an Emergency Board. Once appointed, the PEB will have thirty days to hold hearings and issue non-binding recommendations to settle the dispute. Creation of the PEB will start a 120 day cooling off period during which neither side can resort to self-help.

PrintSMART Transportation Division’s General Committee of Adjustment  GO 610 representing conductors and trainmen, General Committee of Adjustment GO 340 representing yardmasters and SMART Sheet Metal Mechanical and Engineering Local 396 representing mechanical workers have joined the New Jersey Transit Rail Labor Coalition in asking the National Mediation Board (NMB) to proffer arbitration to its members after reaching an impasse in contract negotiations with New Jersey Transit (NJT).

The 10 unions in the NJTRLC have requested that NMB release them from further mediation.

In the requests to the NMB, the coalition wrote, “… the Coalition’s proposal is consistent with all other commuter railroad settlements this round. The company’s proposal … calls for employee health insurance contributions well above the level at every other commuter railroad, while offering wage adjustments far below those achieved at every other commuter railroad during this round … It is clear an impasse exists.”

On March 23, the NMB forwarded the coalition’s release request to NJT and sought a response by April 6.

If the NMB agrees to release the coalition unions, it will proffer binding arbitration to the unions and NJT. When either side notifies the NMB that it rejects binding arbitration, that will begin a process that could take as long as 270 days if no voluntary agreement is reached, including two Presidential Emergency Boards. The first PEB would be appointed within 30 days of either side’s rejection of the proffer of arbitration. At the end of the 270 days, both sides may resort to self-help.

The coalition elected to seek release after it became clear that NJT would not make a reasonable offer. The coalition has proposed a settlement patterned after the contracts achieved this round on Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad. NJT insists on concessionary contracts, with employees with families paying more than four times what they currently pay for health benefits.

The coalitions’ goal is to achieve a fair, voluntary agreement. It believes it has a strong case to present to a PEB. In most commuter railroad labor disputes in the past, the PEB’s recommendations led to a voluntary agreement. However, unlike arbitration, a PEB’s recommendations are not binding.

The coalition formed over the last several months after three years of each union bargaining unsuccessfully with NJT. The member unions believe working together maximizes their potential power. The coalition unions represent 88 percent of NJT unionized workers.

WASHINGTON — A five-member Presidential Emergency Board was appointed by President Obama Oct. 6 to investigate and make non-binding recommendations in a dispute between 11 rail labor unions and the National Carriers’ Conference Committee, which represents BNSF, CSX, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern, Soo Line, Union Pacific and numerous smaller railroads.

Neither the carriers nor any of the 11 unions may engage in self-help at least until Dec. 7 as a result of the PEB’s creation.

The UTU is not affected by creation of the PEB as it reached – and ratified – a new five-year agreement with the NCCC covering conductors, yardmen, brakemen, engineers (where UTU represents engineers), firemen/hostlers and yardmasters this past summer.

The other unions, unable to reach a voluntary settlement with the NCCC since talks began in January 2010, were released from mediation Sept. 6 by the National Mediation Board, which resulted – under provisions of the Railway Labor Act – in a 30-day cooling off period while President Obama considered appointing a PEB.

Creation of PEB No. 243 now begins a second 30-day cooling off period while the PEB commences its fact-finding investigation and makes non-binding recommendations no later than Nov. 6.

At that point, a third and final 30-day cooling off period will commence — and end Dec. 6 — while the two sides consider the PEB recommendations and seek a voluntary settlement based on those recommendations.

If no settlement occurs, the Railway Labor Act has run its course and the parties are free to engage in self-help – a work stoppage by labor, a lockout by one or more of the carriers, or unilateral promulgation of carrier Section 6 notices.

At that point, Congress typically enters the fray and issues a back-to-work order, effectively imposing a third-party settlement on the involved carriers and their unions.

The 11 unions affected by the Obama-created PEB have been negotiating in two separate coalitions:

One coalition includes the Transportation Communications Union, the American Train Dispatchers Association, the International Association of Machinists, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and the Transport Workers Union.

A second coalition still negotiating with the NCCC includes the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes, the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, the Brotherhood of Boilermakers and Blacksmiths, the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers, and the Sheet Metal Workers International Association.

The members of the PEB No. 243 are: Ira F. Jaffe, chair; Roberta Golick; Joshua Javits; Gil Vernon; and Arnold Zack.

Their biographies, as provided by the White House, follow:

Ira F. Jaffe has been an arbitrator and mediator of labor and employment disputes since 1981 and has presided over more than 4,000 cases in a wide variety of industries in the private and public sectors. Mr. Jaffe serves on over 60 permanent arbitration panels and has served on three separate PEBs, one in 2001 and two in 2007. Mr. Jaffe is also a Vice-President of the National Academy of Arbitrators (NAA) and has been a frequent contributor at the NAA Meetings and at other professional conferences. Mr. Jaffe served as the National President of the Society of Federal Labor Relations Professionals in 1990. As an Adjunct Professor at the George Washington University Law School in the 1980s, Mr. Jaffe taught courses in labor law, collective bargaining and labor arbitration, and agency and partnership. He is a Charter Fellow in the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel and has arbitrated and mediated a wide variety of employee benefits disputes. He is also a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. Mr. Jaffe is a graduate of the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations and of the George Washington University Law School.


Roberta Golick is President of the National Academy of Arbitrators, one of the leading North American organizations of neutral arbitrators of labor-management and employment disputes. With more than 35 years’ experience in the profession, Ms. Golick has handled thousands of cases in both the private and public sectors during the course of her career. Ms. Golick was the 1996 recipient of the Cushing-Gavin Award, given annually by the Boston Labor Guild to a single neutral each year for “Excellence in Labor-Relations, Exemplifying Moral Integrity, Professional Competence and Community Concern.” She received her B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University and her J.D. from Boston University School of Law.


Joshua M. Javits is a neutral mediator and arbitrator and serves on numerous permanent arbitration panels. He served on a Presidential Emergency Board in 2007. From 1993 to 2001, Mr. Javits was a Partner at Ford & Harrison LLP where he also served as executive director of the Labor Relations Association of Passenger Railroads. He was also an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center where he taught courses in labor arbitration, transportation labor law, and alternative dispute resolution. He was Chairman and Member of the National Mediation Board from 1988 to 1993. He began his career as a trial attorney with the National Labor Relations Board. Mr. Javits has represented both labor unions and management, at different times, and is on the rosters of the American Arbitration Association, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, and the National Mediation Board. He has been rated “AV” – the highest rating – by Martindale Hubbell’s “Best Lawyers in America” since 2001. Mr. Javits is a graduate of Yale College and Georgetown University Law Center.


Gil Vernon has been engaged in the practice of labor arbitration and dispute resolution since 1979. From 1979 to 1983, he was also an instructor in the Department of Business Administration of the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, teaching labor relations, labor law, personnel, compensation administration and management. Prior to that, Mr. Vernon was a carrier member of the National Railroad Adjustment Board in Chicago, Illinois. Previously, he was a Labor Relations Officer, and before that a Crew Dispatcher and union member, for the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad in Chicago. He was appointed to a Presidential Emergency Board in 1996. Mr. Vernon is the immediate past President of the National Academy of Arbitrators. He is on the Major League Baseball Salary Arbitration panel, the National Railroad Adjustment Board, and more than 15 airline arbitration panels, among others. He previously served on seven multi-year railroad arbitration panels as well as the Protective Benefits Panel of the Railroad Retirement Board. Mr. Vernon received his B.A. from Hope College and his M.A. from the University of Chicago.


Arnold M. Zack has been an arbitrator and mediator of over 5,000 labor disputes since 1957 and a Member of four Presidential Emergency Boards, serving as Chair twice. He is currently the President and Chief Judge of the Asian Development Bank Administrative Tribunal. Mr. Zack was the President of the National Academy of Arbitrators from 1994 to 1995. From 1990 to 2000 he was the Chair of the Essential Industries Dispute Settlement Board in Bermuda, and the Chair of the Essential Services Dispute Settlement Board there from 1998 to 2001. Mr. Zack has also served and taught as a senior research associate at the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School since 1985. He was a Fulbright Scholar, a Wortheim fellow, and is a member of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. Among his awards is the Distinguished Service Award of the American Arbitration Association and the Pioneer Award and Willoughby Abner Award of the Association on Conflict Resolution. Mr. Zack holds degrees from Tufts University, Yale Law School and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

 Following is the White House executive order appointing the PEB:

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release October 6, 2011
– – – – – – –

Disputes exist between certain railroads represented by the
National Carriers’ Conference Committee of the National Railway
Labor Conference and their employees represented by certain
labor organizations. The railroads and labor organizations
involved in these disputes are designated on the attached list,
which is made part of this order.

The disputes have not heretofore been adjusted under
the provisions of the Railway Labor Act, as amended, 45 U.S.C.
151-188 (RLA).

I have been notified by the National Mediation Board that
in its judgment these disputes threaten substantially to
interrupt interstate commerce to a degree that would deprive a
section of the country of essential transportation service.

NOW, THEREFORE, by the authority vested in me as President
by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including
section 10 of the RLA (45 U.S.C. 160), it is hereby ordered as

Section 1. Establishment of Emergency Board (Board).
There is established, effective 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time
on October 7, 2011, a Board composed of a chair and four other
members, all five of whom shall be appointed by the President to
investigate and report on these disputes. No member shall be
pecuniarily or otherwise interested in any organization of
railroad employees or any carrier. The Board shall perform its
functions subject to the availability of funds.

Sec. 2. Report. The Board shall report to the President
with respect to the disputes within 30 days of its creation.

Sec. 3. Maintaining Conditions. As provided by section 10
of the RLA, from the date of the creation of the Board and for
30 days after the Board has submitted its report to the
President, no change in the conditions out of which the disputes
arose shall be made by the parties to the controversy, except by
agreement of the parties.

Sec. 4. Records Maintenance. The records and files of the
Board are records of the Office of the President and upon the
Board’s termination shall be maintained in the physical custody
of the National Mediation Board.

Sec. 5. Expiration. The Board shall terminate upon the
submission of the report provided for in section 2 of this

October 6, 2011.


Union Pacific Railroad Company
BNSF Railway Company
CSX Transportation, Inc.
Norfolk Southern Railway Company
The Kansas City Southern Railway Company
Alton & Southern Railway Company
The Belt Railway Company of Chicago
Brownsville and Matamoros Bridge Company
Central California Traction Company
Columbia & Cowlitz Railway Company
Consolidated Rail Corporation
Gary Railway Company
Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad Company
Kansas City Terminal Railway Company
Longview Switching Company
Los Angeles Junction Railway Company
Manufacturers Railway Company
New Orleans Public Belt Railroad
Norfolk & Portsmouth Belt Line Railroad Company
Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corporation
Oakland Terminal Railway
Port Terminal Railroad Association
Portland Terminal Railroad Company
Soo Line Railroad Company (Canadian Pacific)
South Carolina Public Railways
Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis
Texas City Terminal Railway Company
Union Pacific Fruit Express
Western Fruit Express Company
Wichita Terminal Association
Winston-Salem Southbound Railway Company


Rail Labor Bargaining Coalition consisting of:
Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen
Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes
International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Blacksmiths,
Iron Ship Builders, Forgers and Helpers
Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association
National Conference of Firemen & Oilers
Bargaining Together:
Transportation-Communications International Union
American Train Dispatchers Association
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
Transport Workers Union of America


BOSTON — A coalition of Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad (MBCR) unions, including those representing clerks, carmen, supervisors, signalmen and shopcraft workers, have been released by the National Mediation Board (NMB) from mediation.

The release paves the way for appointment of a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) to make settlement recommendations for a wage, benefits and work-rules contract settlement under provisions of the Railway Labor Act.

The coalition unions rejected an NMB offer of binding arbitration.

The UTU and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen are negotiating separately with the MBCR and are not included in the release. BLET members previously failed to ratify a tentative agreement, and the BLET and MBCR returned to the bargaining table.

Under special commuter railroad provisions of the RLA, a second PEB is possible if the sides cannot accept the recommendations of the first PEB. Self-help is not permitted until 30 days after a second PEB (should it be appointed) has made its recommendations.

(Note that Amtrak and freight railroads are governed by another provision of the RLA that provides for just a single PEB.)