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An arbitrator has issued a final and binding decision providing for the resumption of negotiations over train-crew size and staffing with the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Union – Transportation Division (SMART-TD), which represents conductors in the freight-rail industry.
Rejecting the union’s arguments, the arbitrator found that standard moratorium language in decades-old labor agreements does not bar negotiations over crew size on freight trains, according to a news release from the National Railway Labor Conference (NRLC).
"This ruling allows the railroads and SMART-TD to move forward with negotiations over all aspects of train-crew size and staffing,” said Brendan Branon, chairman of the NRLC and the National Carriers' Conference Committee, the bargaining representative for major U.S. freight railroads. "The industry looks forward to working collaboratively with SMART-TD to address these critical issues."
The July 28 ruling — which is the culmination of nearly 20 months of litigation and arbitration — rejected the union’s principal objections to bargaining over train-crew staffing and agreed with three of the nation’s largest freight railroads that proposals served by the railroads in November 2019 are appropriate subjects of the mandatory negotiation process established by the federal Railway Labor Act.