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5.24.10 – (LAA) – Negotiation Talks Break Down

This is Jeff Pharr, APFA National Communications Coordinator with a Hotline Update for Monday, May 24, 2010


After talks broke down late Friday night, questions have come in over the weekend as to what happens next? The short answer is – we wait.

Our request to be released into a 30-day cooling off period made in March still stands. Our Federal Mediator, Pat Sims, will meet with the board members of the National Mediation Board (NMB) sometime this week and present her recommendation based on the most recent negotiated sessions.

The NMB will then meet internally and at some point render their decision on whether additional talks are warranted or to declare an impasse and move to the next step, which is to proffer Binding Arbitration to both parties. If either party declines binding arbitration, then the NMB will release the parties into the 30-day cooling off period.

The APFA’s opinion is that we are at an impasse. And we have no intention of accepting the proffer of binding arbitration.

Once we are released into the 30-day cooling off period, we could continue to meet with the company during that time. Meetings during the cooling off period are referred to as “super mediation”. If no agreement is reached during the cooling off period, the parties are then free to engage in self-help. The Union can call a strike or other form of self-help and the company may impose a contract based on items proposed during negotiations.

The NMB controls the process while we are in mediation. The time-line for their decision is not known. It may take days or weeks – they control the process.

For a more thorough and detailed explanation, please view the video of APFAÇs legal counsel, Rob Clayman. The video is an excerpt from the most recent Road Shows, and in it, Rob Clayman thoroughly outlines the Railway Labor Act and the steps that remain. Link to video:

We must continue to stay unified and strong. Do not allow the company to persuade you with their rhetoric of “moves toward APFA”. Unacceptable concessions still remain in their proposals and we’ve given more than our fair share. All while the executives continue to reap multi-million dollar bonuses.

It’s OUR TURN NOW and we will NOT back down.

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