After more than five years of negotiations, IAM International President Bob Martinez today requested that the National Mediation Board (NMB) issue a “proffer of arbitration” to the IAM and ExpressJet in an attempt to conclude the years-long contract negotiations.
A “proffer of arbitration” can be requested and/or refused by either party and is a legally mandated step in contract negotiations under the Railway Labor Act (RLA). If both sides accept the proffer—or offer—of arbitration, then a neutral arbitrator would have the power to impose contractual terms based on both parties’ proposals. If the proffer of arbitration is denied by either party, then a 30-day countdown would commence leading to the exercise of “self-help” by either party—strike and/or lockout—if no agreement is reached in the interim.
“It is critical that all IAM-represented ExpressJet Flight Attendants understand that our request for a proffer of arbitration is a necessary step to move this process along and ultimately secure the contract you deserve,” said District 142 President Dave Supplee. “We must, however, prepare for the real possibility that the Company does not share our commitment to attaining the industry-best contract we have waited much too long to achieve.”
At the conclusion of the 30-day cooling off period and prior to a strike or lockout, the President of the United States could establish a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB). The PEB would offer recommendations on how to settle the dispute. If both parties still cannot reach agreement, then both parties would be free to exercise self-help or Congress could intervene and legislate a resolution.
“Our power to achieve our goals is directly related to our unity and solidarity,” continued Supplee. “We must all demand the fairness and respect that we deserve. The fact is, the Company has dragged its feet for too long and every day that passes without a genuine effort to attain an agreement is a slap in our face.”
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Read the IAM’s request here.