October 12, 2022 — The membership of the SMART Railroad, Mechanical and Engineering Department (SMART MD) has voted to ratify a tentative agreement with the carriers, after almost three years of negotiations between the union and the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC). The vote was passed with a 54% margin in favor of the negotiated contract.

The ratified contract includes historic wage increases, five annual service recognition payments, an additional paid day off and enhanced healthcare benefits. Members will immediately receive a 13.5% wage increase, and members will also receive retroactive pay and $3,000 in service recognition payments within 60 days.

“It was up to our members to decide whether to accept this agreement, and the members have made the decision to ratify a contract with the highest wage increases we have ever seen in national freight rail bargaining,” said Joseph Sellers, Jr., general president of SMART. “However, we hear the concerns of our members who may be disappointed in the outcome of this vote, and I promise that we will never stop fighting to ensure that they receive the wages, benefits and working conditions that they deserve for keeping the American economy running.”

September 11, 2022 — SMART’s Railroad, Mechanical and Engineering Department (Mechanical Department or MD) reached a tentative agreement with the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC), which includes the highest wage increases ever achieved in national freight rail bargaining. The tentative agreement provides our members with a 24% general compounded wage increase over five years. In addition, members would receive five annual service recognition payments of $1,000. Upon ratification, our members, including our retired and deceased members, will receive full retroactive pay consisting of the wage increases and service recognition payments.

Furthermore, the tentative agreement will provide an additional paid day off that can be used as either a personal leave day, a vacation day or on the employee’s birthday. Our healthcare benefits were enhanced to provide coverage for autism spectrum disorder and an increase in hearing aid benefits. There are no work rule changes or cuts to our healthcare benefits. The tentative agreement also includes a “Me Too” provision, where if another union reaches an agreement that provides more economic value, we can receive that same value in our agreement. The tentative agreement was reached based on the recommendations of Presidential Emergency Board 250.

SMART General President Joseph Sellers, Jr. stated, “After nearly three years of difficult and protracted negotiations with the carriers, I’m very pleased that our Mechanical Department members are receiving the highest wage increases we have ever seen in national bargaining. Contrary to what the carriers may say, our highly skilled members’ contributions are the reason for the carriers’ extremely high profits, and it’s about time that our members receive the fair contract that we have been fighting for, and that the carriers have been fighting against, for the past several years.”

Ratification ballots will be mailed to SMART MD freight rail members soon. While SMART MD was able to reach a tentative agreement, the Transportation Division is still negotiating with the NCCC. General President Sellers calls on the NCCC to resolve the attendance policies and working conditions impacting operating employees in order to provide a better quality of life for our brothers and sisters in the Transportation Division.

WASHINGTON – Greg Regan, President of the Transportation Trades Department (TTD) of the AFL-CIO, of which the SMART Transportation Division (SMART-TD) and SMART Mechanical Divisions (SMART-MD) are members, released the following statement in response to President Joe Biden’s Executive Order establishing a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB), which will delay any freight rail work stoppage or strike for 60 days upon taking effect Monday, July 18th. TTD is the nation’s largest transportation labor federation and represents 37 labor unions, including the 13 rail worker unions involved in the ongoing national contract negotiations:

“We commend President Biden for announcing a board of neutral arbitrators to investigate and report its findings and recommendations to help both parties work toward a resolution.

“After nearly three years of bad faith negotiations by the railroads, it is sad but not surprising that we arrived at this point in the bargaining process governed by the Railway Labor Act.

“Our goal from the beginning of this process has been to deliver a contract that freight rail workers could ratify, particularly as the railroads are raking in their highest-ever profits as workloads and work hours have increased exponentially. Throughout this process, the railroads have never made a contract proposal that these workers could reasonably accept.

“Just as they have failed in their responsibility to provide reasonable freight service for their customers and the American people, the railroads have also failed in their responsibility to their workers in their greedy quest to become modern-day robber barons.

“The reality is that these frontline workers are pandemic heroes who move essential cargo and goods through the supply chain, yet they have not received a pay raise in three years and are risking their personal health and safety every day on the job.

“The time has come for the nation’s railroads to be held accountable for their actions, and reconcile the long-term effects of their greed. The seven Class I railroads have raked in $146 billion in profits since 2015 while cutting 45,000 jobs in the same period.

“Quite simply, the facts are on our side and we look forward to the forthcoming recommendations of the presidentially-appointed arbitrators.”

In a joint statement in response to the Executive Order, the 13 rail unions stated: ‘The Rail Unions remain united in their efforts, and are now working together in preparation of a unified case representing the best interests of all rail employees before the Presidential Emergency Board. Our unified case will clearly show that the Unions’ proposals are supported by current economic data and are more than warranted when compared to our memberships’ contribution to the record profits of the rail carriers.‘ “


Upon the formation of the Presidential Emergency Board (PEB), the Railway Labor Act (RLA) imposes a 30-day status quo period during which the Board will receive written submissions and hold hearings, and the parties are not permitted to exercise self-help. The Board would be required to issue its report within 30 days of its appointment. Once the Board issues its report, the RLA mandates another 30-day cooling off period as the unions and the carriers attempt to negotiate an agreement based on the PEB’s recommendations. If no agreement is reached at the end of that last 30-day period, then all restrictions on self-help are removed. Therefore, under the RLA, if a PEB is created and no agreement is reached based on its recommendations, the parties could exercise self-help in mid-September. Congress could take action at this point and mandate the Board’s recommendations or extend the cooling-off period.


The 13 unions involved in the national rail labor contract negotiations are: the American Train Dispatchers Association (ATDA); the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen / Teamsters Rail Conference (BLET); the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division (BMWED); the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS); the International Association of Machinists (IAM); the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB); the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers/SEIU (NCFO); the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU); the Transportation Communications Union / IAM (TCU), including TCU’s Brotherhood Railway Carmen Division (BRC); and the Transportation Division and Mechanical Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART–TD and SMART-MD, respectively).

Collectively, these Unions represent approximately 140,000 railroad workers covered by the various organizations’ national agreements, and comprise 100% of the workforce who will be impacted by this round of negotiations. 

An open letter from the office of SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Earlier today, I advised our Rail General Chairpersons involved in national bargaining that the cooling-off period after our release by the NMB will be ending Monday, July 18, at 12:01 a.m., and if a Presidential Emergency Board is not appointed by then, there will be the opportunity to engage in self-help. A copy of that letter can be found here.

According to the governing provisions of the SMART Constitution, a strike action over a national contract dispute must first be approved by a two-thirds vote of the affected General Chairpersons. This method, which has been carefully written and democratically required by our delegates, provides a quick and effective way to obtain strike authority from our members. As noted in my letter, our General Committees have so far shown unanimous support for exercising our right to legally strike, if and when the opportunity presents itself. This result does not come as a surprise, given the railroads’ abysmal treatment of our members over the last 2+ years, and their ongoing refusal to make any move toward a contract that is even remotely worthy of your consideration in a ratification vote.

As noted in my letter to our General Chairpersons, this approval does not automatically constitute authorization to engage in a strike. Final authorization will come in a separate notice from this office, and will be widely distributed using every communication tool available to us. The earliest this office could issue that notice could be on or after 12:01 a.m. on Monday, July 18, 2022. However, if President Biden establishes a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) prior to this date, which is generally expected under these circumstances, no strike authorization can be issued during the PEB process.

With that being said, preparation for the possibility of a strike is well under way. We will soon be distributing materials to all affected SMART-TD Locals, which will include explicit detailed instructions. We will also be electronically distributing picketing materials so our members may choose which signs they want to display. This method of distribution provides the added benefit of avoiding any potential delays that might result from mass printing and mailing these materials from a central location.

Your national negotiating team is more determined than ever to obtain a contract that provides the fair compensation, meaningful improvements in quality of life, and better healthcare that we rightfully expect and deserve. To the carriers and their media pundits who are trying to cast us in a negative light: Your bogus rhetoric might resonate with the hedge fund managers, Wall Street investors, and billionaire cronies you cater to, but the hard-working people who earn you your all-time record-breaking profits aren’t buying it. Make no mistake, we are prepared and willing to exercise every legal option available under the Railway Labor Act to achieve our goals.


Jeremy R. Ferguson
President, Transportation Division

February 28, 2022 — By letter dated February 24, 2022, the rail bargaining coalition made up of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division of the Teamsters Rail Conference and the Mechanical Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers Union petitioned the National Mediation Board (NMB) for a proffer of arbitration, requesting to be released from further mediation sessions. If granted by the NMB, the proffer of arbitration is the next step in the process towards self-help and a potential Presidential Emergency Board to settle their contract dispute with the nation’s rail carriers.

The Coordinated Bargaining Coalition (CBC) unions, which are likewise in negotiations with the same rail carriers, support the BMWED/SMART Mechanical request to be released from mediation and agree that the parties are at an impasse and should be allowed to move the contract dispute to the next steps of the Railway Labor Act’s negotiation process. Although the CBC Unions are also in mediation with their next NMB-mediated bargaining session scheduled in March, the CBC made it clear to the NMB upon entering mediation that there is little, if any, hope of reaching a voluntary agreement in light of the rail carriers’ refusal to bargain in good faith with any of the rail unions. Therefore, the CBC fully expects to be making the same request for a release, and once all rail unions are released from mediation, the CBC will stand alongside the BMWED/SMART Mechanical Coalition through the final steps of the Railway Labor Act negotiation process to bring the bargaining round to a successful conclusion.

A copy of BMWED/SMART Mechanical’s February 23, 2022, letter to the National Mediation Board can be found by clicking here.

The unions comprising the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition are: the American Train Dispatchers Association (ATDA); the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen / Teamsters Rail Conference (BLET); the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS); the International Association of Machinists (IAM); the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB); the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers/SEIU (NCFO); the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU); the Transportation Communications Union / IAM (TCU), including TCU’s Brotherhood Railway Carmen Division (BRC); and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART-TD).

Collectively, the CBC unions represent more than 105,000 railroad workers covered by the various organizations’ national agreements, and comprise over 80% of the workforce who will be impacted by this round of negotiations.


Dear members,
On December 5, 2016, SMART Transportation Division issued a press release to announce that the unions participating in the Coordinated Bargaining Group (CBG) had requested that the National Mediation Board (NMB) mediate the group’s negotiations with the National Carriers Conference Committee (NCCC).
The decision to move the process forward with a request for mediation was made after our last negotiating session with the NCCC, when it became apparent that the prospect of reaching a voluntary agreement had grown significantly less likely, due in large part to the outcome of November’s elections. During negotiations, the organizations submitted a proposal that would provide the framework of an improved wage, work rule and benefit package that we believe our members have earned.
The carriers responded with an offer that was significantly less in every regard. Your negotiating team found the carriers’ demands for certain work rule changes unacceptable. In our opinion, these changes would compromise safety by creating a negative impact on rest and predictability. In addition, the carrier proposed unsatisfactory wage increases and dramatic cuts to our health care benefits, both of which were also unacceptable.
We have negotiated in good faith because we believe a voluntary agreement is in the best interests of our members and will continue to do so while in mediation. However, we stand firm in our conviction that our members deserve a better outcome than the carrier’s proposal and we will exhaust every avenue available to achieve a contract settlement with equitable compensation and benefit improvements that reflect the employees’ contributions to the carriers’ success. Additionally, we will not accept or propose a contract that adds to the already intolerable levels of unpredictability and rest deprivation that our members currently endure.
What’s next? The parties will engage in mediation as part of the dispute resolution process required by the Railway Labor Act. If a voluntary agreement is not reached in mediation, the process provides for a proffer of arbitration by the NMB, which, if refused by either participant, will then release the parties to engage in self-help (strike/lockout).
Moving through the Railway Labor Act to a strike is a long and arduous process, and requires that the parties exhaust every opportunity for settlement before a work stoppage disrupts the nation’s transportation system. However, the right to strike is a part of the process and the only person who can take away your right to strike is the President of the United States, who may intervene and appoint a Presidential Emergency Board.
In the event that we reach that point, I will be calling on all of our members to reach out to the White House and request that our newly elected President not interfere with our right to exercise self-help in our quest for a fair and equitable contract settlement.
To better explain the process that governs from this point forward, click on https://www.smart-union.org/td/washington/abridged-version-railway-labor-act/ to read an abridged version of a more detailed explanation of the Railway Labor Act.
John Previsich
President, 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.

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.)