November 15, 2011
Letter from Jack Koraleski
To our customers:
This week, the nation's major freight railroads have reached tentative agreements with three more of the unions currently involved in labor negotiations. The three unions are the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) , the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen (BRC) and the Transportation Communications International Union (TCU). The railroads now have agreements covering almost half of the 132,000 employees in this bargaining round.
Union Pacific, along with the rest of the nation's largest freight railroads, has been in national (multi-employer) bargaining with the rail unions since January 2010. A Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) was established by President Obama in early October following the National Mediation Board's decision to release two bargaining coalitions that represent 11 of the labor unions from mediation. The PEB was charged with investigating and making recommendations to resolve the labor dispute. The PEB's non-binding recommendations were delivered to the President on November 5, and were largely modeled after an agreement previously reached between the railroads and the United Transportation Union (UTU), which makes up about a third of the employees covered by this round of bargaining.
The industry remains in a final 30-day "cooling-off" period during which the railroads have continued to work to reach voluntary settlements with the remaining unions and avert any potential disruptions to rail service. During the "cooling off" period, all parties are barred from engaging in any self-help action.
We remain optimistic that the railroads will reach the agreements with the remaining unions needed to avert a service interruption before the cooling off period ends at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, December 6. When Railway Labor Act (RLA) procedures have failed to produce agreements, Congress has historically stepped in to prevent or quickly terminate potentially crippling strikes. A national strike last arose from national bargaining in 1992 and Congress acted immediately to end it.
We will continue to keep you updated on the progress of our negotiations with the remaining unions. If you'd like additional information, I would encourage you to visit RailLaborFacts.org.
Executive Vice President, Marketing & Sales