April 4, 1983

The President announced today the creation of Presidential Emergency Board No. 201 to investigate and make recommendations for settlement of a current dispute between the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and employees represented by nine labor organizations.

The President, by Executive order, created the Emergency Board at the request of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, parent body of the LIRR. The Long Island Rail Road is the largest commuter railroad in the United States, transporting 283,000 passengers each week day over a 330-mile system extending from Manhattan to the end of Long Island. In addition, LIRR provides the only rail freight service on Long Island and connects with the Nation's rail system through New York City. A strike on the Long Island Rail Road would have a severe impact on the economy of the New York metropolitan area, disrupting commuter travel and trucking, and leading to increased consumption of gasoline.

On November 16, 1982, the President invoked the emergency board procedures of the Railway Labor Act applicable to commuter railroads and created Emergency Board No. 199. That dispute involved the LIRR and 14 labor organizations. Emergency Board No. 199 investigated the issues in dispute and prepared a report and recommendations for settlement of the disputes. The Board's report was submitted to the President on January 4, 1983.

Prior to the creation of Emergency Board No. 199, LIRR had already reached agreement with two organizations, the Brotherhood of Railway, Airline and Steamship Clerks, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. In addition, subsequent to the release of the Board's report, three other unions, the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers and Blacksmiths, and the International Brotherhood of Firemen and Oilers ratified agreements with the MTA.

Following the release of the report and recommendations by Emergency Board No. 199, the parties unsuccessfully continued their attempts to resolve their differences. The statutory period allotted for this process expires on April 5. Section 9A of the Railway Labor Act provides that either party to the dispute may require the establishment of a second Emergency Board if the dispute is unresolved, and MTA made such a request. The parties will now submit their final offers to Emergency Board No. 201 within 30 days, and the Board will report its selection of the most reasonable offer within 30 days thereafter. During this 60-day period, and for 60 days after the submission of the report, the parties must maintain the status quo and refrain from engaging in self-help.