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BLET does not extend cooling-off period but continues to bargain

CLEVELAND, November 29 — The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) declined to agree to extend the final statutory “cooling-off” period 60 days by a 5:00 p.m. deadline set by the nation’s rail carriers, choosing instead to continue its effort to arrive at a voluntary settlement within the time frame set forth in the Railway Labor Act.

The carriers had proposed the 60-day extension shortly before the Thanksgiving holiday, but the proposal was contingent upon the BLET, the American Train Dispatchers Association (ATDA) and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division of the Teamsters Rail Conference (BMWED) agreeing to the extension prior to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard time today. BMWED announced earlier last week that it would observe a unilateral extension of the period.

In commenting on the expiration of the carriers’ deadline, BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce said, “At this point, an extension would not serve either BLET members or the bargaining process in which we are engaged. If an agreement is to be reached, it is now, not some time down the road. Bargaining is at a point where an extension simply will not affect the outcome for BLET members.”

In the absence of a settlement, the “cooling-off” period will expire at the end of the day December 5, after which the railroads may lock out employees represented by unions with unresolved disputes and those unions also would be free to strike.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

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