Rail Labor Unions to Seek Arbitration

Railroad labor unions on Thursday declared that talks with the railroad industry are at an impasse and they are seeking arbitration.

The Coordinated Bargaining Coalition, which represents the unions, said in a letter to its members that it will file for arbitration next week.

Talks between the coalition and the National Carriers’ Conference Committee began in February 2020 in an effort to hammer out a new general agreement.

In the past, those agreements have taken several years to reach. Talks can continue so long as the parties believe some progress is being made.

Crew size is the major sticking point in the latest round of negotiations. The railroads want to eliminate on-board conductor positions in favor of roving ground-based conductors who would be responsible for multiple trains.

Railroads have cited the implementation of positive train control systems, which are designed to stop collisions before they happen, as justification for changing long-standing work practices.

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