President Obama has appointed Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) 248 to make recommendations to settle the outstanding contract negotiations between the eleven unions in the New Jersey Transit Rail Labor Coalition, including TCU, and New Jersey Transit commuter railroad.
The appointment of the Board is effective July 16. The PEB will have thirty days from that date to make non-binding recommendations. The Board scheduled hearings to begin July 27.
In an unprecedented show of unity and solidarity, every union on New Jersey Transit has joined together in the Coalition. The eleven unions represent 17 different crafts and classes and more than 4,000 workers on the commuter railroad. TCU Carmen, Clerks and Supervisors are all represented. TCU Special Assistant to the President Joel Parker was chosen by the Coalition to serve as bargaining spokesman, and will testify at the PEB.
The PEB members are all experienced arbitrators with previous PEB experience. The Board will be chaired by arbitrator Elizabeth Wesman, and its two other members are Barbara Deinhardt and Ann Kenis.
Under the governing Section 9(a) of the Railway Labor Act, the appointment of the PEB starts a 120 day cooling off period. Following the Board’s Report containing its non-binding recommendations, the Coalition and New Jersey Transit will resume negotiations. If an agreement is still not reached, either party to the dispute, or the Governors of the affected states, can invoke a second PEB. If that occurs, the first date that self-help will be possible will be March 12, 2016.
“We strongly hope that the PEB will issue recommendations that can lead to a voluntary settlement,” said TCU President Bob Scardelletti. “The Coalition’s demand for a contract similar to what was reached on Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North is fair and justified.”
Click here to read the Executive Order from the White House.