July 8, 1982

The President announced today that he is establishing, effective July 10, 1982, Presidential Emergency Board No. 194 to investigate and make recommendations for settlement of a current dispute between the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLE) and most of the Nation's major railroads represented by the National Railway Labor Conference (NRLC).

The President, by Executive order, is establishing the Emergency Board on recommendation of the National Mediation Board. A strike by the BLE threatens substantially to interrupt interstate commerce to a degree such as to deprive a section of the country of essential transportation service. Carriers represented by NRLC operate approximately 90 percent of total U.S. railroad trackage and serve all of the contiguous States except Rhode Island. Last year, railroads carried 38 percent of all intercity freight, and their share of this market has increased in recent years. A strike would have a severe impact on movement of Department of Defense material, coal, winter wheat, and intercity rail passengers, among other things.

Consequently, the President invoked the emergency board procedures of the Railway Labor Act, which in part provide that the Board will report its findings and recommendations for the settlement to the President within 30 days from the date of its establishment. The parties must then consider the recommendations of the emergency board without engaging in self-help during a subsequent 30-day period.