Railroads and Unions Fail to Reach Agreement on Extending Cooling Off Period
As I wrote to you on November 23, the railroads have been working with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and the American Train Dispatchers Association (ATDA) to join an offer to extend the cooling off period that was accepted by the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees (BMWE). As of last night, neither union had agreed to join the extension. Under the terms of the Railway Labor Act, the current cooling off period will expire at 12:01 a.m. on December 6. Without an extension of the cooling off period or tentative settlement agreements, a strike or other job actions could occur at that time.
The railroads will continue to work with the remaining unions to enact the recommendations of President Obama’s Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) prior to December 6. The deadline for the BLET and ATDA to join the cooling off period extension offer has been extended until the close of business tomorrow, December 1. Should the two unions fail to join the extension offer by tomorrow, the railroads will work toward a legislative solution.
Your response to my request to contact your Congressional delegations has been very encouraging. To date, our customers have sent over 700 letters to Washington expressing their concerns over the impact of a national rail shutdown. In response, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) issued a statement yesterday that the House of Representatives is prepared to take action to avert a rail shutdown. Click here to read the full statement.
If you have not yet contacted your Congressional delegation, I urge you to do so today. Thank you for your support and I will continue to update you in the days ahead.
Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer