On Wednesday night, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm President Trump’s package of three nominees to the National Mediation Board (NMB). With these confirmations, the Board is now officially in Republican control and their decisions will be decidedly pro-management for the near future.
The NMB is the agency charged with settling labor disputes in the railroad and airline industries. It also makes decisions if and when to release carriers and labor unions who are unable to reach bargaining agreements, in addition to making recommendations to the President regarding selections to the Presidential Emergency Boards (PEBs).
Control of the NMB impacts workers and labor unions, specifically with regards to contract negotiations with rail carriers. The NMB also sets policy with regard to Section 3 arbitration for grievance and discipline cases.
The new NMB members include:
Kyle Fortson, a former Republican Senate staffer and Director of Labor Policy for the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee.
Gerald Fauth, a transportation economic consultant who previously served as Chief of Staff for former Surface Transportation Board (STB) Republican Vice Chairman Wayne Burkes from 1999 through 2003. During his tenure, the STB oversaw the splitting of Conrail between CSX and Norfolk Southern.
Linda Puchala, the lone pro-labor Democrat on the Board was renominated in a minority role. Ms. Puchala is the former President of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA).