President George W. Bush established a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) this week to investigate and report on the four-year contract dispute between Metro-North Railroad and 3,500 employees represented by a coalition of unions, including the Machinists Union, Transportation Communications Union (TCU) and Transport Workers Union.
For 120 days from the creation of the PEB, Metro-North is prohibited from imposing unilateral changes to the contract and union members are prevented from striking. The Board shall issue its report to the President within 30 days of its creation.
“With the full knowledge that the White House would intervene in the process, Metro-North management did not negotiate seriously,” said Transportation GVP Robert Roach, Jr. “Collective bargaining only works when both sides are committed to reaching an agreement.”
IAM members are seeking wage increases and improved pension benefits. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the parent of Metro-North, is demanding burdensome employee healthcare contributions and other concessions.
IAM District 19 President/Directing General Chairman Joe Duncan and General Chairman John Lacey are representing the 270 Machinists members affected by the PEB. Metro-North is a commuter rail service that carries 250,000 passengers per day in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.