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United Rail Unions Statement on Proffer of Arbitration, June 15, 2022

Published: Jun 15 2022 11:14AM

The United Rail Unions issued the following statement on June 15, 2022:

Following the conclusion of our third week of compulsory mediation conducted by the National Mediation Board (NMB), the Rail Unions who are bargaining as part of the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way/SMART Mechanical Coalition pursuant to Section 5 First of the Railway Labor Act, received a proffer of arbitration from the NMB.

As previously stated, all of the Carriers’ proposals to date serve as an insult to our collective membership. These essential employees carried the railroads to their record profits throughout the last several years. As much as the Rail Unions would have preferred to reach a voluntary settlement, this has become the only viable path to reaching a satisfactory conclusion. The Chiefs of all 12 Rail Unions wish to thank the NMB Members and the assigned Mediators for their efforts in trying to bring us to a voluntary agreement, and for their recognition that such an agreement was not possible under the current circumstances.

With regard to the proffer of arbitration, the NMB urged the parties to enter into an agreement to resolve the dispute via binding arbitration in accordance with Section 8 of the Railway Labor Act. If either party rejects the NMB’s proffer, or fails to respond prior to the deadline of 5:00 p.m. (EDT) on June 16, 2022, the parties will enter a 30-day “cooling off” period where the status quo is maintained. While each Rail Union has its own process for considering whether or not to accept the NMB’s proffer, it is anticipated that we will unanimously reject it in the coming days.

At any point during the aforementioned 30-day cooling off period, President Biden may appoint a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB), which typically consists of three to five members. The PEB will conduct a hearing and issue a recommendation regarding settlement of the dispute.  The issuance of the PEB recommendation starts another 30-day cooling off period.

During this second cooling-off period, the parties may choose to accept or reject the PEB’s recommendation. If either party rejects the PEB’s recommendation, or if the cooling off period expires and the dispute has not been resolved, either party may engage in self-help.

If this happens, it is expected that Congress will intervene and end self-help by passing legislation to resolve the dispute. To address this possibility, we have already mobilized our Legislative departments to get the message to our elected representatives. In addition to these efforts, we are urging our members to begin reaching out to their U.S. Senators and House Representatives to voice their support for a labor-friendly PEB, and if necessary, labor-friendly legislation to bring this round of bargaining to a successful conclusion. The time to make our collective voices heard is now!

Additional information will be provided as developments warrant. We appreciate your continuing support.


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).

The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division and SMART Mechanical Unions are also bargaining as a coalition.

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.