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NMB proffers arbitration in BLET contract dispute with SEPTA

CLEVELAND, May 1 — On May 1, the National Mediation Board (NMB) formally urged the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) to submit their unresolved contract bargaining dispute to binding arbitration pursuant to the Railway Labor Act (RLA).

The BLET has been bargaining for a new contract for approximately 220 locomotive engineers at SEPTA since July of 2009. The dispute has been in NMB-sponsored mediation since April of 2010.

The proffer of arbitration is a mandatory step in the RLA bargaining process. If either party to the negotiations declines to accept the proffer, the NMB will then notify the parties that its mediatory efforts have failed and will release them from mediation.

BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce thanked the NMB for acknowledging that an impasse in bargaining had been reached.

“It is disappointing and unfortunate that the carrier has refused to acknowledge the important contributions of its hardworking locomotive engineers, especially considering their important role in helping SEPTA set an all time record for regional rail ridership last year, ” President Pierce said. “These transportation professionals go above and beyond the call of duty every day and take pride in their dedication and commitment to safety. We appreciate that the NMB has finally acknowledged that SEPTA’s immovable position prevents any possibility of a negotiated settlement.

"The BLET has previously informed the NMB that our SEPTA members have voted to accept a proffer of arbitration. The BLET recognizes that binding arbitration is the fastest way to resolve this dispute without interrupting vital transportation services to the citizens in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. It would be irresponsible for either party to reject this proffer,” President Pierce concluded.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) also received a proffer in its bargaining dispute with SEPTA. BLET has been working with the IBEW to achieve fair settlements for the members of both organizations.

Updated information will be provided as developments warrant.

Thursday, May 01, 2014
bentley@ble-t.org

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