White House Statement on the Report of Presidential Emergency Board No. 213 Concerning the Investigation of a Railroad Labor Dispute


July 1, 1988


Presidential Emergency Board No. 213 today submitted its report to the President concerning a dispute between the Chicago and North Western Transportation Company and certain of its employees represented by the United Transportation Union.


The President, in his discretion, under the Railway Labor Act, and on the recommendation of the National Mediation Board, established the three-member Board by Executive Order 12636, effective April 22, 1988. It was established because of a threatened strike by approximately 2,200 members of the United Transportation Union. The strike would have affected the carrier's freight train operations in the 10 States of Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. It would also have affected suburban commuter passenger service operated under contract by the North Western for the Regional Transportation Authority (``METRA'') in Chicago, IL.


The Board was chaired by Robert O. Harris, Arbitrator, of Washington, DC. Richard R. Kasher, Arbitrator, of Bryn Mawr, PA, and Robert E. Peterson, Arbitrator, of Briarcliff Manor, NY, served as members of the Board.


The central issue in dispute concerned the number of train service-employees that shall be used on each crew employed in road, freight, and yard service operations. The North Western had sought to revise agreements to permit it the unrestricted right to determine when and if any train-service employees shall be used on a train. The union rejected such a demand. It proposed that the standard crew consist of not less than one conductor and one foreman and two helpers in yard service. Further, the union contended that in no event should a minimum crew consist of less than one conductor/foreman and one brakeman/helper.


The North Western offered employees adversely affected by implementation of its rules changes a one-time severance allowance of $25,000 or, in the alternative, a supplemental unemployment allowance for 1 year.